Keep Morehouse Beautiful has strived to keep the parish clean since becoming a Keep America Beautiful Affiliate in 2007, receiving little acknowledgement for their hard work, until now.
Keep Louisiana Beautiful recognized KMB Wednesday as the Affiliate of the Month. KLB executive director Leigh Harris traveled from Baton Rouge to present KMB's board of directors with the award at the Visitor Center during the Morehouse Economic Development Corporation monthly meeting.
“KMB has received awards from the Chamber of Commerce, but this is the first award from Keep Louisiana Beautiful,” said KMB Executive Director Vicki Carpenter.
Carpenter gave a slide presentation for MEDCO and other community leaders that were in attendance, showing pictures of Bayou Bartholomew before and after KMB volunteers collected litter from the banks in May.
“I can't say enough about how much the police jury helped us , by providing a dumpster during the Bayou Bartholomew Water Sweep,” she said.
Carpenter also showed before and after slides of three old homes on West Madison Avenue, which were torn down in May as part of the Main Carter Clean-Up Project.
“It really makes a statement when you see the before and after pictures of these properties,” she said.
Carpenter pointed out their “most effective tool” for keeping the parish clean -- six dumpsters that were filled with debris during the City of Bastrop Clean-Up in April.
“We collected over 101 tons of debris and over 800 tires,” Carpenter said. “Do you realize how much debris that is?”
Carpenter said in addition to volunteers, clean-ups would not be possible without the help of grants that help to fund KMB.
“We received a grant for $1000 from UPS six weeks ago,” she said. “That money is going to be used toward six more dumpsters in October.”
Carpenter said the grant was awarded to KMB because they are “in good standing” with Keep America Beautiful.
A press release issued by The UPS Foundation Awards states this is the fifth annual UPS/KAB Community Improvement Grant Program, providing more support than ever for recycling, beautification, community greening, litter prevention and waste reduction initiatives across the country.
“The UPS Foundation is pleased to support Keep America Beautiful because of the broad array of programs and projects that UPS employees can engage in to improve their local communities,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of the UPS Foundation.
Carpenter thanked KLB for other projects they have helped to fund throughout the year.
“KLB helps us to fund the sheriff's department to find illegal dump sites,” she said. “They also help us fund our Litter Free Larry program. This helps us to create awareness for cleaning up litter in the parish.”
Carpenter said KLB has also provided funding for the improvement of parks in Bastrop.
“They funded trash receptacles in the parks and a new coat of paint on the fences,” she said. “The parks are also now tobacco free.”
Carpenter said a significant reason for having the award presentation during the MEDCO meeting was because of the role they play in aiding one another.
“Beautification is a link to economic development,” she said. “When visitors come into our parish, first impressions are made within the first eight seconds.”
MEDCO president Leo Nelson said during yesterday's meeting that KMB is very important to the economic development of Morehouse Parish.
“This is a peer partnership between several organizations such as the Chamber [of Commerce], the economic development corporation and Keep Morehouse Beautiful,” he said. “We support each other.”