Athens woman’s trash cleanup work inspires volunteer day in her honor


ATHENS, Ala. – An Athens woman who has been picking up trash across the city since the COVID-19 pandemic began is being recognized Saturday with a cleanup day in her honor.

Oasis: Christ’s Church at Athens is holding “Mrs. Laverne’s Clean My Block Party”, a day of food, music, and of course trash cleanup.

“I am so overjoyed. I told Jerome, this is bigger than me. I have cried. I am just overexcited,” said Laverne Gilbert.

“She was doing it outside of our building so I asked her Miss Laverne what are you doing, and when I heard her story I said we have to get involved, and so several of us from our church and several of the youth in the city met with her about a week later and we joined the forces,” said Jerome Malone, pastor of Oasis Christ’s Church at Athens.

Gilbert has picked up over 100 bags of trash across the city in just one year.

“I retired in 2019, and COVID-19 came up, and I was like what am I going to do, so I’m sitting on my front porch one day, just meditating,” said Gilbert.

That’s when she says she noticed an unkempt strip of land across the street that was littered with trash.

“I went and got my broom, started cleaning up, trash, bottles, just everywhere,” said Gilbert. “I went to the mayor’s office and told them what had happened, and I told him I need some grabbers, some bags, and a vest, I need to go to work.”

Gilbert has been cleaning up the city ever since, now with the help of some new friends.

“You get out here, you meditate, and you get to working, I’m enjoying it,” said Laverne.

“Mrs. Laverne’s Clean My Block Party” kicks off on Saturday, May 6th at 8:30 A.M. and runs through Noon in Lincoln Bridgeforth Park in Athens. A link to event is available here.

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