On a crisp, spring morning in Macon County, Karan Bailey and her two-year-old daughter, Ava, trample through the weeds along a quiet road near Shorter searching for discarded cans, fast food bags and other trash. A few miles down the road, two young men load an abandoned television into a pickup truck while an elderly man and his middle-aged neighbor scour the road banks for litter.These good Samaritans represent different ages, races, genders and socio-economic conditions, but they have one thing in common. They love their community and are seeking to make it better by participating in a statewide spring cleanup sponsored by People Against a Littered State (PALS).Joy Noble, who is the self-proclaimed “Queen of Trash,” coordinates the cleanup effort in Macon County and serves on the state board of PALS. She said the anti-litter campaign is “all about pride.””The image of the community is what you see on the roadsides,” she said. “If people see trash, they think trashy people live there. Our roads are a reflection of who we are.”Alfa Insurance Co. and Alabama Farmers Federation share Noble’s belief that reducing litter builds community pride, so they have pledged $60,000 over three years to support PALS activities. Noble, who also serves on the Federation’s State Women’s Committee, said Alfa’s contribution will help provide free bags and supplies to PALS volunteers.Noble said she has been amazed at how many people will cleanup the area in front of their homes if they are given a free bag. In fact, Noble actually started her county’s cleanup effort by doing just that. She simply asked all of her neighbors to pick up the trash around their mailboxes, and that led to the formation of the Macon County Betterment Association’s anti-litter committee. When Noble learned about PALS, she jumped at the chance to get her county involved in a statewide cleanup effort.Today, Macon County has scores of volunteers who pick up trash year-round. But on spring cleanup day, the county fills about eight trailer-size dumpsters. County Commissioner Drew Thompson was among the volunteers who pitched in for the event. “Trash and litter are a problem, but if we build a sense of pride in the community through events like this, people will keep it cleaned up,” Thompson said. “Macon County is a gorgeous county, but we’ve all got to work to make it look nice.”In addition to spring cleanup, PALS organizes other anti-litter events throughout the year. Macon County also has developed a program that allows people who commit misdemeanors to perform community service by picking up trash. At the state level, PALS recognizes schools that pick up their trash with Clean Campus Awards.The program is sponsored by Alfa and provides schools with support and cleanup materials free of charge. Last year, Olive J. Dodge Elementary School in Mobile won first place and $1,000; Peter F. Alba Middle School in Bayou La Batre placed second and received $750; and Disque Middle School in Gadsden and Danville-Neel Elementary School in Danville tied for third place and received $500 each.”Alabama PALS is extremely proud of this partnership with Alfa,” said PALS Executive Vice President Spencer Ryan. “On behalf of all of the students, faculty members and the valuable and supportive teachers, thank you Alfa for your genuine support of this program, which teaches environmental awareness, stewardship and the value of making Alabama a cleaner place for all of its citizens.”In addition to the “Don’t Drop It Alabama” Spring Cleanup and the Clean Campus program, PALS also sponsors the Adopt-A-Mile, Adopt-A-Stream, Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-An-Area programs. For more information about PALS, call 1-800-ALAPALS or visit www.alpals.org.
Alfa Pitches In With PALS To Clean Up Alabama