Litter Cleanups Empower Community Action

Cleanup Club Chicago volunteers with Katherine Tellock (center) and Annette Anderson (center-right) picked up trash last month on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood.

Inspired by Friends’ Litter Free Summer Challenge cleanup program, Chicago River Day Site Captain Katherine Tellock founded Cleanup Club Chicago in July 2020. The Summer Challenge inspires, encourages, and supports volunteers so that they can pick up litter independently or in small groups. Friends also honored Tellock as the 2021 Volunteer of the Year

The Summer Challenge

As reported by Block Club Chicago, Cleanup Club Chicago has grown to about 230 members with six captains — two on the North Side, two on the West Side, and two on the South Side — who report if there’s a particular area that needs to be cleaned. The group has picked up more than 6,000 pounds of trash, empowering others across the city to join in the effort. The club also tracks the collective impact of their cleanups through our Litter Free interactive map and survey. 

Tellock Talks Litter Cleanups on WBEZ

Using our Litter Free Chicago River Toolkit and working with Annette Anderson, Friends’ Volunteer and Events Coordinator, Tellock learned how to effectively organize litter cleanups.

Litter Free Chicago River Toolkit

The toolkit provides helpful guidance for individuals working independently or in group cleanups, day-of activities, waste disposal, and safety. Friends can support small group cleanups with supplies such as trash grabbers, gloves, and buckets. Friends is also working to set up Litter Free Supply Stations where groups can borrow supplies. 
As winter approaches, now is a good time to join in the litter free effort by getting out to cleanup your community. For more information contact Annette Anderson at