Keep Ashe Beautiful was one of 10 affiliate chapters of Keep N.C. Beautiful to be awarded a community improvement grant of $500 as of April 24.
In order to receive the grant, which was offered by N.C. Coca-Cola Bottlers Council, Keep Ashe Beautiful competed against other affiliate programs.
“This is our second grant since we became an affiliate chapter,” said Executive Director Elaine Graham. “To get the grant, we told them what we had already done and what we plan to do in the future.”
According to Graham, Keep Ashe Beautiful focuses on three areas: litter control, education and beautification.
Since Keep Ashe Beautiful became an official affiliate of Keep N.C. Beautiful on May 30, 2012, the group has organized numerous litter sweeps throughout the county.
More important though, said Graham, is Keep Ashe Beautiful’s dedication to educating the community about littering.
“We’re all about trying to get the county to realize how important it is to keep the area clean,” said Graham. “We need to keep people aware of how damaging litter is and how easy it is to avoid littering.”
According to Graham, clearing litter actually costs the state of North Carolina money, which could be better spent through other programs.
Also, Keep Ashe Beautiful advocates recycling because of the shortening life-span of the Ashe County sanitary landfill.
To beautify the community, Keep Ashe Beautiful distributes decorative plants throughout the county, to groups like Greater Lansing Area Development (GLAD) and Ashe County Museum. Also, Keep Ashe Beautiful was recently involved in a project where students helped paint over a wall covered in graffiti, restoring the wall to its previous beauty.
After presenting this information, Keep Ashe Beautiful was awarded the grant to create advertising materials to increase awareness and participation of recycling and clean-up opportunities.
Graham stressed how vital clean communities are to the local economy. According to her, visitors are more likely to return if the area is clean.
“This (Keep Ashe Beautiful) grew out of the tourism department of the chamber of commerce,” said Graham. Their mission state is “to engage individuals to take great responsibility for improving their community.”
Other winners included: Keep Greenville Beautiful, Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful, Keep Wilkes County Beautiful, Mount Energy Elementary, Union Hill Elementary, Rainbow Recycling, Charlotte Action Project, Craven County Big Sweep, and the Green Chair Project.
N.C. Coca-Cola Bottler’s Council also awarded $250 each to Keep Nash/Edgecombe Beautiful, Rocky Mount and Keep New Hanover Beautiful, Wilmington for advancing programs.
Keep N.C. Beautiful is a nonprofit organization that engages and supports organizations and individuals to keep North Carolina beautiful through a network of 35 local affiliates in 33 counties statewide.