When Marv and Laura Wells began walking their dog several times a day, they noticed that a large amount of trash littered their road. “It hit us,” Marv says, “that there was no reason for us to be living on a trashy street. If it was going to be clean, we would need to do it.” In 2007, they contacted the City of Columbia and joined the Adopt-the-Spot Litter Control Program.
They clean both sides of the road on Stewart, between Garth and Providence. With a liquor store, three fast food restaurants, several fraternities and numerous rentals in the vicinity, they often fill a blue recycling bag and a large black garbage bag.
While the Wells have volunteered to clean their adopted spot four times a year, they go above and beyond and often clean several times a month. During football season they clean weekly.
They also volunteer for the Bike, Walk & Wheel Week, Cleanup Columbia, Heritage Festival, and Show Me State Games. Laura volunteers with Boone County Council on Aging where she weekly helps a person shop, pay bills, and do other tasks.
While picking up trash is not grandiose, Marv says, it does make a difference in the city and people do notice. Occasionally, pedestrians, bikers, and people in cars will stop and thank them for cleaning the roadside. “It spurs us on,” says Laura.
~Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson