This past Saturday, April 24th, while people went on their weekend business, our very local Frank Polanco got up early and set up his day for cleaning up 15th Avenue off of Prospect Road. Frank heads the non for profit organization South Florida Lending Hands – an organization that is there for the community with disaster relief, community outreach, and pet rescue. They also work with upcoming local events and Art Movement in the community.
South Florida Lending Hands has adopted NW 15th Street off Prospect Road. One of their duties as adopters is to maintain the street and do a clean up four times a year. The last cleanup was last January.
Frank hoped for more volunteers to step forward. There were other volunteers lined up to assist, but unfortunately their plans fell through and were unable to assist this time. Ana Moreno, a local Oakland Park Teacher, happened to see his Facebook post Friday evening. The idea of helping out was appealing. From 10am on Saturday morning, and for nearly 2 hours, Frank and Ana walked on either side of NW 15th street picking up garbage. And boy was there garbage to be picked up!
It is amazing what trash was collected on NW 15th Avenue. From the expected water bottle or plastic bag dancing in the breeze, Frank and Ana collected entire fast food remnants, wine bottles, discarded plastic material which once served as a sign or post. And among countless items of garbage, even car parts were found! Frank says, “Explain to me why this cannot make it to a garbage can”.
Frank and Ana walked up and down 15th Avenue between Prospect Road and Commercial Boulevard. The amount of trash found on just Saturday alone is cause to worry how many other streets, avenues, roads, neighborhoods need cleaning up and on more than four times a year. Saturday was also Fort Lauderdale Cares Day, and not far off the heels of Earth Day that was celebrated just a couple of days prior on April 22.
If you feel compelled to help, South Florida Helping Hands does this cleanup four times a year. The next clean up will aim to take place in August. Frank would love to have more volunteers to come out and help. Mark your calendars now, set an alarm for a few months from now… set the schedules in your Androids, iPhones, or personal devices now! Come Fall, check in on the South Florida Lending Hands website at South Florida Lending Hands or in their Facebook group of the same name. Make it a family event to come out and help save the world a piece of trash at a time.
We can all help by making sure that trash and recyclables make it onto the proper receptacles and that we teach our children to pick up after ourselves. We can make Earth Day be everyday. Thank you to Frank Polanco and South Florida Lending Hands for caring to make a difference!
Anamaria Moreno is an Elementary school teacher. Born in Costa Rica, but mostly raised in Venezuela, Ms. Moreno came to South Florida in 1996 where she has resided ever since. She graduated from Lynn University, with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has taught in the classroom for 18 years, most recently teaching the first grade for the past seven years. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Moreno was involved in volunteer work with the Child Life Specialists Department at Miami Children’s Hospital. She also served as member of the Board of Directors for “A Caring Pregnancy Center” in Miami. Most recently, Ms. Moreno has taught at an elementary school in Oakland Park. Ms. Moreno also teaches ESOL to Adults in Night School. When Ms. Moreno is not in the classroom, she enjoys baking custom specialty cakes, face painting, and enjoys creating Arts and Crafts.