OROVILLE — Children could be seen Sunday walking the streets of Oroville hoping to fill a bag with cigarette butts.
“For me, it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt and I like helping so that’s fun,” said 9-year-old Jasmine Lerner. “I like scavenger hunts, finding things.”
Lerner was one of about 30 kids that volunteered for the final Service Sunday of the year.
The cleanup days bring together community members, business owners and local youth to beautify Oroville.
“It’s helping the environment, earth and animals that live over here,” Lerner said.
Typically held one Saturday a month from April to October and called Service Saturdays, this month’s cleanup day was moved to Sunday because of the Oroville Salmon Festival.
“Our community does a huge event for the salmon festival, tons of people come to town, and of course that leaves some trash and litter so it’s always nice to clean up after the festival,” said Krysi Riggs, director of Axiom Youth Center in downtown Oroville and one of the event’s organizers.
Children volunteers Sunday were also given an additional task, pick up as many cigarette butts as possible.
Riggs said that the American Lung Association has recently partnered with Service Saturdays for a cigarette butt challenge.
The child with the most collected cigarette butts is given a gift card to Yoville Yogurt in Oroville.
At the last Service Saturday 3457 cigarette butts were collected in two hours.
“We can actually count the impact of cigarette butts in our community,” Riggs said.
Moving the cleanup to Sunday also allowed for a local church to give back to the Oroville community.
Table Church chooses to cancel their worship service on the fifth Sunday of a month to participate in volunteer work.
“We wanted to try to be a tangible expression of good news to the community,” said church pastor Jaymes Lackey.
The church brought about half its 90-person membership to help out, many of them being kids.
“We were trying to decide whether to have childcare but we thought this would be a perfect opportunity for families to volunteer together and serve their community,” Lackey said. “We think it’s important to not only volunteer alongside their parents but also get their hands dirty themselves.”
Service Saturdays will start up again next April.