Our Neighbourhood Earth Day Clean Up Event: Allergy Friendly Style, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

budding flowers

Last week, my neighbour, Joanna, approached me with the idea of a ‘Neighbourhood Clean Up’ for Earth Day.

I thought it sounded like a great idea!

She hoped that I could help spread the word to some of the families in the neighbourhood and I offered to provide an Allergy Friendly snack for the end of the walk.

It was a little short notice, but I gave it a whirl.

I managed to recruit my neighbourhood friend, Leslie her three kids and her daughter’s friend.

Earth Day, April 22, 2012: at 2:15 p.m.our little group of ‘helpers’ gathered outside my home. Joanna passed out gloves, garbage bags (donated by her local grocery store), and set some rules.

Joanna handing out gloves and garbage bags

All sharp objects were to be left for an adult to pick up and be placed in the blue bucket. All recyclable bottles were to be placed in the blue recyclable bag that she would also be carrying.

We all donned our colourful gloves, grabbed a bag and set off on our very first Earth Day Neighbourhood Clean Up Adventure!

garbage littering our earth

An assortment of items were collected: a hanger, cushion, pile of magazines, juice boxes, pop cans, plastic bottles, candy wrappers, styrofoam, perfume, the contents of student’s wallet from 2007-2008, a T-shirt, unopened Kool-Aid and chewy bars, fast food containers, coffee cups, lids, plastic bags and even a $20.00 bill!

$20.00 bill found on our Earth Day Clean Up

A little dirty but money all the same!

When the crew began to tire, Leslie brought out her cut up watermelon. Joanna provided wipes to clean our hands and we all enjoyed slices of thirst quenching watermelon.

Enjoying some watermelon on our Earth Day Clean Up

I was pleasantly surprised at the positive feedback we received as we walked the streets. One man poked his head over his fence to thank us…he wondered what group we were with. Another gentleman stopped to inform us that his family did a clean up a couple of years ago. He was pleased to see other families pitching in to beautify the community.

All along the way, I greeted fellow passersby with a “Happy Earth Day!”

The kids were surprised at all the garbage they were finding. “I didn’t think Whitby had so much garbage!” and “Why don’t people just put garbage in the garbage can?” were just some of the comments I overheard the kids discussing.

At the end of our walk, we gathered together, cleaned our hands once again with the wipes and happily dug into my Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares.

Digging in to Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Treats

Joanna was very keen to gather feedback from the kids…they were able to give her some positive tips that she will utilize when she plans Earth Day Neighbourhood Clean Up 2013!

Joanna loaded down with all the garbage we collected on our Earth Day Clean Up

Overall, our group collected 9 bags of garbage (2 of which we had to dispose of along the way due to the heavy wet magazines), one bag of recyclable and a collection of sharp objects, mostly broken glass.

Our Earth Day Neighbourhood Clean Up Crew for 2012

I declare our Earth Day Neighbourhood Clean Up to be a success! I think the kids enjoyed their experience of cleaning up their neighbourhood with their friends.

It has made us all more conscious about how we dispose of our ‘garbage’!

A big thank you goes out to Joanna, our Earth Day Neighbourhood Clean Up creator and to all those that came out to help with her Earth Day endeavor!

I think ‘Mother Nature’ would approve!

Tip 1: Group activites inevitably involve food. When your child has food allergies,  taking an active role in the snacks is always my number one priority. I felt very comfortable having Leslie in charge of bringing cut up watermelon. Leslie takes great care when she prepares anything that my boys will be eating…she understands cross-contamination issues. She has a nephew with an egg allergy. Her nephew is one lucky boy…Leslie always makes sure that there is something ‘special’ for him to enjoy at all family gatherings.

I am also very lucky to have Leslie as my neighbour and friend! She is definitely someone who ‘gets it’!

Tip 2: Had there been other families involved that may not be familiar with food allergies and all it entails, I would have had them bring something like juice boxes, bananas or Premium Plus crackers in the individual snack packs. As this was just meant to be a light snack, and not meant to be the highlight of the event, keeping food items simple was key.


9 thoughts on “Our Neighbourhood Earth Day Clean Up Event: Allergy Friendly Style, 2012

    • Thank you! It really was fun getting together with neighbours after our winter ‘hibernation’! It felt good to get outside and contribute. Matthew is out again today on a ‘Earth Day Clean Up’ with his school.

  1. What a great idea and good for you! Wonderful to get the kids involved and understand the meaning of Earth Day. We need to think about doing something like this next year. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • It was very last minute but easy to put together when you have a couple of willing families…the kids really did enjoy the experience. Hoping to do it again next year!

  2. bravo!!!–i am known as mother nature here in wisconsin and as joanna’s former teacher–i just want to say-THANK YOU !!!!–I AM SO VERY PROUD OF YOU!–keep up the good work and remember to make every day earth day!!!!

  3. Pingback: Secret Sister Swap: My Basket For My Secret Sister | The Food Allergy Chronicles

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