Volunteering Accomplished: NYC Park Cleanup

A few months ago, I reached out and asked for help volunteering to help clean up NYC Parks. This past Saturday, the folks who signed up made good on their promise. It was a gorgeous day and a ton of fun. We had about 15 people show up including Debby from The Pursuit of Riches and Shannon from Financially Blonde (who dragged her husband along – what a good sport!).

I worked with an organization called Partnership for Parks who were amazing at helping me coordinate a volunteer opportunity. We landed on cleaning a park in East Harlem called “Art Park”.

We were given the task of raking leaves, picking up trash and sweeping where it was needed. When we arrived at the park, I have to admit, I was a little worried. It seemed so small and we had a whole crew of energetic people! I thought we might finish in 10 minutes. Soon, I realized that the layer of leaves on the ground was DENSE. We raked and raked and after the few short hours we had promised our time, we had filled 43 HUGE garbage bags with leaves and trash.

These weren't even all of the trash bags that we filled!
These weren’t even all of the trash bags that we filled!

What were some of the most interesting trash items that we uncovered? I thought you’d never ask:

  • Lots of chip bags and plastic bags
  • Cold/sinus medicine
  • Hypodermic needle
  • Old gloves (from previous park cleaning crews?)
  • Scooter tire
  • Empty bottle of 1800 tequila
  • One lonely sneaker
  • A broken bowl

Good thing we had gloves! And now, all those crazy/gross/weird items are no longer littering the park. We all felt pretty good about ourselves afterwards, so a few of us rewarded ourselves by grabbing a beer.

When people think of volunteering, many view it as a sacrifice. Today at least, we got to hang out with great people, get outside on a beautiful day, had the gratification of leaving the park in better shape than we found it, and got the blood flowing a little bit. I can’t think of a single sacrifice. Volunteering actually created an opportunity to have fun! I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from Saturday.

Lots of people pitching in together!
Lots of people pitching in together!
Teamwork!
Teamwork!
A few people had to leave early, but those who were there at the end got together for a group shot!
A few people had to leave early, but those who were there at the end got together for a group shot!

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20 thoughts on “Volunteering Accomplished: NYC Park Cleanup

  1. Even Steven May 8, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    It’s always great to be able to volunteer and even better when it’s in your city to make things better, Cheers to Volunteering!
    Even Steven recently posted: Only 12,000 Days till I RetireMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 9, 2014 at 8:11 am

      Thanks! It was a great time!

  2. Shannon @ Financially Blonde May 9, 2014 at 7:49 am

    This was a great time Dave, thank you so much for organizing!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted: Top Ten TV MomsMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 9, 2014 at 8:12 am

      Absolutely – thanks so much for coming out! I hope the bday celebration after was fun!

  3. EL @ Moneywatch101 May 9, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Sounds like it was a ton of fun. I have volunteered in the past as well, and the enjoyment you get is unmatched. I will be doing a tree planting volunteer opportunity soon in NYC, just waiting to hear back for the organizer.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted: The Truth behind Multi-Level MarketingMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Yeah – I was a little surprised. It is absolutely enjoyable. I also got the feeling that I wanted to do more immediately. It’s a little bit addictive!

  4. So awesome! The amount of litter and disrespect for the public space in NYC and America in general is something that truly upsets me.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: What Speaking Ukrainian Taught Me About Money.My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 9, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      Same! When I used to live in Hawaii, that was one thing that I loved about the people of the islands – it was in the culture to be respectful of their home. The beaches were clean because if there was any trash, the first local to come across it would pick it up. I wish that were the mentality in NYC.

  5. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply May 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Great that you guys went out there and made a difference.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted: Are You Suffering From Technology Overload?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 9, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      It was a ton of fun!

  6. Claire M May 9, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Well that’s pretty flippin’ awesome. Great job!!
    Claire M recently posted: Topics We’re Talking About: Turning Your Hobby Into a HustleMy Profile

  7. DC @ Young Adult Money May 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Shannon had mentioned she was doing this, looks like you had a lot of fun and got a lot of trash cleaned up. I once volunteered to clean up a highway and it’s interesting the things you will find. I found a Willie Nelson cd, a dollar bill, and so much other random crap.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted: The Weekly Quick Hits RoundupMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 10, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      Ha! It sounds as though you came away with a way better haul than we did! But yeah, it was a ton of fun.

  8. Phil May 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Nice going on a worthy cause! Good job!
    Phil recently posted: DTUT – for a downtown coffee vibe in uptown NYC!My Profile

  9. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich May 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    That looks so much more rewarding than my day at work. I really wish I could’ve been there. I can’t believe you found a hypodermic needle – that would’ve freaked me out a little.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted: Budget Travel: CampingMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 13, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Ha – I wasn’t the one who found it, but I was surprised at the way people took it in stride!

  10. FI Fighter May 13, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Awesome stuff man! Alright, I need to stop coming up with excuses…
    FI Fighter recently posted: Financial Independence: Tackling the Location ConundrumMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 14, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Summer volunteering and getting outdoors is amazing – you won’t regret it!

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