Hundreds spend their Saturday volunteering with Great American Cleanup

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Julie Almonte and her family pick up trash along Landry Avenue during KNAB's Great American Cleanup on May 7. The family took part in the cleanup for the first time last year and said there was less trash seen this year. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
Annie Slobogan said that everyone should pitch in to help clean up North Attleborough. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Wearing purple Keep North Attleborough Beautiful t-shirts and carrying trash bags and grabbers, more than 500 residents spent their Saturday morning helping to make the town more refuse-free.

KNAB’s ninth annual Great American Cleanup was held on May 7, and this year marked a return to the event of old. For the first time since 2020, the cleanup included in-person events, such as the pickup of supplies and the pizza party held afterward. KNAB Director Marsha Goldstein said she was “beyond thrilled” to see this happen.

The people take pride in the town,” she said. “It makes you feel good.”

Volunteers gathered at the high school early Saturday morning and headed out to different spots around town, such as N. Washington Street, Landry Avenue, and the roads around the Triboro Plaza. Darryl Davis had recently moved to North Attleborough from the North Shore and was walking around downtown collecting nip bottles and discarded face masks.

I wanted to give back, keep it clean, and volunteer some time,” he said.

Many of the cleanup crews wore green bandannas that read “Team Frank,” in honor of Frank Wojciechowski, who passed away on March 26. Wojciechowski was a lifelong North Attleborough resident and founding member of KNAB. He was recently recognized for his tireless work to improve the public sites. Frank’s wife Mary was working with a group on Landry Avenue and said the two had never missed the cleanup. In addition, Frank was known for planting several trees around town, getting the Mount Hope Cemetery designated an official Arboretum, and building a variety of birdhouses.

He thought everyone should be a custodian of the Earth,” said Mary.

Goldstein said that Frank was an essential part of KNAB and that he loved the town. She recalled the many plantings he helped with, and that he enjoyed being outdoors. She said Frank was always looking for ways to pitch in.

He was so loved by all of us,” she said. “He will be so missed.”

Driving around town, it was hard to find a spot where the KNAB crews weren’t hard at work. Matt and Annie Slobogan collected bottles, a child’s sneaker, cigarette butts, and face masks along North and South Washington streets. The Slobogans hope that trash cans are added to the area to deter this kind of littering.

It’s not great,” she said of the trash along one of the main roads of the town. “It’s on all of us to take care of it.”

Julie Almonte and her family had cleaned up in the industrial park before, and this year were on Landry Avenue. It’s their second year as part of the cleanup, and Almonte said there was less trash along the roads than last year. Among the trash the Almontes found were Dunkin Donuts cups and a box for a Mr. Potato Head toy.

It’s a great thing to do for the environment,” said Almonte. “It’s a good thing for my boys to do.”