First Lady McKee, Kaehler of N.S. challenge locals to pick up one piece of litter in #RIMillionPieces

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – Rhode Island First Lady Susan McKee has issued a simple challenge to all Rhode Island residents this month that she says will make a real impact if everyone does their part: Pick up just one piece of litter.

Donna Kaehler, director of Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful, has joined McKee in promoting the challenge and led the way this month. A North Smithfield resident who once served as the town’s recycling coordinator, Kaehler said she decided to get the ball rolling while walking in her own neighborhood along Log Road.

“Surprise, or maybe not – there was a lot more than one piece,” Kaehler said. “I counted 45 pieces in just a 5 minute walk along a residential road. If everyone just did around their homes, we would get to 1 million pieces very quickly.”

“With no snow on the ground, we’re seeing litter everywhere, often right on residential properly, down neighborhood streets, or at our office parking areas,” noted a release on the challenge. “Litter doesn’t have to stay in Rhode Island. If we all just pick up one piece, RI will be one million pieces cleaner.”

Kaehler is now calling on those in her home turf of northern Rhode Island to do their part and show pride in their state by joining the January challenge.

To take part:

#1 Pick up a piece of litter.

“We are asking every Rhode Island resident to go out somewhere in Rhode Island by January 31 and pick up one piece of litter,” Kaehler said. “Pretty easy. If you get in the groove, keep going. More pieces are even better.”

#2 Share on social media

Go to the KBVB’s Facebook or Instagram page and post a photo with at least one piece of litter and the location with the hashtag #RIMillionPieces. 

#3 See your efforts & results

In February, organizers will track all of the posts and tabulate the items collected.

“It will be interesting to see all your efforts, and even better, we will be removing all that litter from our streets,” Kaehler said.

Kaehler and McKee remind those participating to stay safe as they pick up litter. Litter kits, including grabbers, vests, gloves and bags, are available at some libraries, including Glocester Manton Free Public Library, Harmony Library and North Smithfield Public Library. Residents can visit the libraries and check out the kit just like they would a book.

A list of all ten participating libraries, along with safety guidelines, can be found here.

“Will we make the One Million Piece Goal? It will be up to you, but we are feeling positive,” notes the release. “We know our Rhode Islanders are a force that steps up to better our communities.”

For more information, contact KBVB at (401) 724-2200.

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