SPEDA’s student clean-up incentive program offers opportunity to win cash, prizes
The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) is joining forces with four local organizations to have a stronger collective influence in beautifying the community this spring.
Officially dubbed Lake Cumberland Clean Up Week, SPEDA’s annual Triple Bag Challenge will be one of three clean-up efforts residents of Somerset-Pulaski County can participate in between April 17-22. Others include Eastern Kentucky PRIDE’s Somerset-Pulaski County Clean Sweep on April 20 and Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce’s Operation Beautification April 22.
On April 29, the Pulaski County Recycling Center will host Household Hazardous Waste Day, where residents can dispose of items like paint, motor oil, poisons, pesticides, aerosol cans, corrosive acids and motor vehicle batteries for free between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Joining forces helps each of these organizations have a greater impact on the environment and send a unified message about the need for keeping the community clean, SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said.
“All of these organizations understand the importance and value in beautifying Lake Cumberland,” Girdler said. “With more than 4 million visitors traveling to our area each year, setting our best foot forward and making a positive first impression is imperative. But greater than that, protecting our community for future generations is the example we want to set for our children and grandchildren and the legacy we want to leave them.”
For SPEDA’s part, the organization will once again host the Triple Bag Challenge, a week-long contest held every spring and fall for all elementary through high school students living in Somerset and Pulaski County. The challenge encourages good environmental stewardship by rewarding cleanup efforts.
Students who pick up three bags of trash from roadways in the community receive a chance to win one of several prizes — including $500 cash, gift cards, gas cards, and SomerSplash Waterpark passes. To date, the challenge has awarded thousands in cash and prizes to participating students.
“It has been a joy watching these young people take ownership of their community and demonstrate incredible work ethic,” Girdler said. “SPEDA’s role in Somerset-Pulaski County is not just to recruit businesses, but to improve the overall quality of life for everyone who lives here. The Triple Bag Challenge is just one small way we can help shape young minds, give back to the community, and make this a better place to learn, live and work.”
To participate in the Triple Bag Challenge, students must first register with SPEDA by calling (606) 425-5409 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They are then asked to pick up three bags of trash from any roadway in the community and post before-and-after photos of their cleanup efforts to Facebook and/or Instagram using #spctriplesweep. Privacy settings on all posts must be set to public, as that is the only way SPEDA will be able to search those photos and count their participation.
Girdler stressed the importance of students and parents registering with SPEDA, because only those who sign the necessary paperwork will be eligible for prizes.
“I’d love to see the strongest participation yet in the Triple Bag Challenge and all Lake Cumberland Clean-Up Week efforts,” Girdler said. “I’m so grateful to PRIDE, the Chamber and the Pulaski County Recycling Center for all of the tremendous work they do each year to make a difference in Somerset-Pulaski County. I’m thrilled to continue building this partnership that will no doubt make a significant impact on the environment for years to come.”