Safe sweep

NKCDC hosts safe spring cleanup contest via social media.

The annual cleanup may be postponed, but NKCDC is still keeping its section of the city clean. PHOTO PROVIDED

For more than a decade, the City of Philadelphia has organized the annual Philly Spring Cleanup in early April.

Neighborhoods and corresponding civic groups and organizations participate each year throughout the city, with special projects ranging from planting new trees to tidying vacant lots to painting murals.

New Kensington Community Development Corporation is one of those organizations.

And, despite the cleanup being indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, NKCDC is harnessing the power of social media to do its part to keep its section of the city clean.

NKCDC is sponsoring the Safe Spring Cleanup through May 10.

“We host an annual spring cleanup and barbecue for our community on the date of the citywide spring cleanup. Community groups, school groups, neighbors and others pick up tools from the NKCDC Garden on a Saturday morning, rake, shovel, sweep, paint and plant for a few hours, and then eat lunch together,” said Jessica Hoffman, Neighborhood Advisory Committee associate at NKCDC. “For years, the Philadelphia Brewing Company has hosted a free barbecue for all the cleanup participants. It is an event that many neighbors look forward to and feels like it marks the start of the warm spring season.”

With the current social distancing guidelines in place, NKCDC staff brainstormed ways to bring neighbors together and improve the River Wards while staying safe.

While NKCDC serves the 19134 and 19125 ZIP codes, the Safe Spring Cleanup is open to anyone.

“We know that this time has been difficult for so many communities throughout the city, and we hope that people can participate and feel a sense of community and connection during this time of distance and uncertainty,” Hoffman said.

So, how does the Safe Spring Cleanup work?

Participants should pick up, sweep up, pretty up or plant stuff in any neighborhood until May 10 and snap a photo.

“There are multiple ways to enter. If you use social media, you can post your before and after photos to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #safespringcleanup, and tag @NKCDC. If you don’t use social media, you can upload your photos. If you do all three, you get three chances to win,” Hoffman said.

Photos can be uploaded at

If getting some fresh air isn’t incentive enough in the time of a stay-at-home mandate, NKCDC is providing raffle prizes.

One gift card each in the amount of $10, $20, $50 and $100 will be raffled among those who enter.

The block with the most submissions will also win a prize.

“NKCDC feels that an event like this has the ability to lift spirits and keep us feeling whole in this time and so we think it’s important to encourage people to participate,” Hoffman said.

And, while NKCDC hopes to brighten days, the organization asks that individuals adhere to social distancing rules while participating, including cleaning alone or only with your housemates, staying 6 feet from anyone else, wearing a mask.

And, smile anyway. ••

For more details about NKCDC’s Safe Spring Cleanup, visit or contact Jessica at 267-606-3534 or