More than 50 volunteers turned out to help pick up litter around Riverhead this morning.
“This was our best turnout ever,” said Councilman James Wooten, who has served as coordinator of the town wide cleanup for each of his 12 years on the town board. Wooten credited anti-litter committee chairperson Deborah Wetzel with the volunteer bump. She reached out to school groups and did a great job getting the word out in the community, Wooten said.
High school students, including the Riverhead High School NJROTC, members of Boy Scout Troop 94 in Wading River, community residents and a group of employees from Timberland in Tanger Outlets were among the volunteers. Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilwoman Catherine Kent also joined in the effort.
Among the volunteers were three boys from Eastport Manor High School, who don’t even live in the Town of Riverhead. Harrison Heintz, Dylan Gaber and Deven Agnihotri said they heard about the cleanup and thought they’d pitch in. “Out of good will,” Dylan said.
The town provided each volunteer with a bright yellow T-shirt, trash pickers, gloves and plastic bags. Wooten and former councilwoman Barbara Blass brought snacks and drinks to fortify the contingent before they hit the streets at about 9 a.m. Riverhead Highway Department Crews will pick up the plastic bags filled with trash.
Scouts cleaning up Harrison Avenue between Route 58 and Middle Road filled four large plastic bags to capacity. They had fun doing it, they said.
“The most important thing is to build awareness in the community against littering,” Wetzel said. “We have to try to get people not to litter in the first place. That’s what we really need to focus on year-round,” she said.
The town will hold another town-wide cleanup in the spring.
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