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A new way of doing Community Clean-Up Day

Lansing tradition makes adjustments for quarantine challenges

by Katie Arvia

LANSING, Ill. (April 11, 2020) – For the past decade, Lansing residents have been participating in an annual Community Clean-Up Day. Enthusiastic volunteers have faced inclement weather, large heaps of trash, and other obstacles that never seemed to deter them. However, this year’s obstacle—the COVID-19 quarantine—presents a unique challenge.

Village Clerk Vivian Payne addressed that challenge at the April 7 meeting of the Village Board. Payne confirmed that Clean-Up Day as a Village-hosted event is being canceled, but the Village will support residents who conduct their own clean-up events while observing safe social distancing. “I would like to encourage all of our residents—if the weather is permitting and it is a nice day—to go individually, either with household family members or by yourself, choose a location in Lansing, and do your own clean-up.”

The Village will provide garbage bags to willing volunteers who call Clerk Payne in advance to arrange for pick-up. Volunteers can leave their filled bags at each location as long as they inform the village ahead of time. Lansing Public Works will pick up the filled bags. Payne also encouraged volunteers to share photos of their clean-up experience: “What we would like folks to do is take a before picture and an after picture if anybody is going out. We will post those on our Facebook page,” she said.

Just as in previous years, the Village will provide garbage bags for individuals who want to participate in an individual clean-up event this year. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, 2019)

Areas scheduled for clean-up on Saturday, April 18, from 10:00am to noon, included the former Kmart property, railroad crossings, parks, alleyways, and frontage roads—areas that are highly visible to residents as well as visitors. Any of those locations are open for adoption during the Village-supported individual clean-up day. Residents are of course also encouraged to adopt their own neighborhoods and local parking lots for clean-up.

“With all children being off school and home, this year in particular can be of extreme importance because parents can take the kids out to teach and show them what littering does to our community,” Payne said. “If parents have children pick up trash throughout the village, perhaps they will be less likely to litter in the future.”

Those who plan to participate in the unofficial 2020 community clean-up day, should take all necessary safety precautions. Stay at least 6 feet apart from others who may be in the area, use hand sanitizer before and after collecting garbage, wear gloves and face masks if possible, safely dispose of all trash collected, and wash hands thoroughly after clean-up.

Gloves are always important when picking up garbage—this year, especially so. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

By participating in individual clean-ups throughout the village, residents will be able to practice safe social distancing while still making an impact on Lansing.

Before and after photos can be texted to 708-262-8867, so the Village can share them on social media channels.

Questions about helping clean up Lansing can be addressed to Village Clerk Vivian Payne:

Katie Arvia
Katie Arvia
Katie is a lifelong Lansing native who currently works full-time in marketing while also freelance reporting for The Lansing Journal. In 2015, she graduated with high honors from Saint Xavier University in Chicago with a BA in English, and she plans to pursue a Master's degree in the near future. Her favorite Lansing Journal assignments include coverage of TF South High School's walkout ("Demonstrating the possibilities") and her St. Patrick's Day interview with her grandma ("St. Patrick's Day traditions: reflections of an Irish granddaughter").


  1. I love this! Practical application with our kids is so important. Through this whole ‘experience’ we are learning to adjust, adapt and Thrive! Yes, it’s different, but so what? Shaking things up isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just different 🙂 Embrace these times and enjoy the break of ‘normal.’ Appreciate the coveted ‘time’ we have with each other, as it will be gone soon.

  2. Great program! But in reading the article I find the scrolling pop-up ads from Mancinos and Maria Eng in the middle of the article to be distracting. And the screen seems to jump in time with the pop-ups, causing difficulty for me as a senior citizen to focus on the article. (Sorry to be a pain in the neck about your otherwise fine and timely article)

    • Thanks for your feedback, John. Much of that distraction is my fault—I’ve been experimenting with a few different ad styles, and when I don’t have the settings exactly right, the ads tend to get a little wonky. Feedback from readers will help me make the adjustments necessary to maintain a good reading experience while still being able to earn enough ad revenue to support the business.

      I appreciate your patience, and please feel free to share your thoughts about this anytime. My direct email is [email protected].

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