Hundreds of volunteers clean up trash in west Baltimore

By Kate Amara/WBAL
Posted on 08/05/19 | News Source: WBALTV


Hundreds of volunteers participated in a massive cleanup Monday in west Baltimore, inspired by the president's twitter attack last week on Baltimore and Rep. Elijah Cummings.

The cleanup was attended, in large part, by supporters of President Donald Trump.

"I think it's great. It's a good thing," said Arnold Tyree, of Baltimore.

"This is our city, and we need to clean it up," said Kenny Ebron, of west Baltimore.

"This is our city, and we need to clean it up."

The cleanup started at 8 a.m. Monday and lasted into the evening at North Fulton and Westwood avenues. Organizers said some volunteers paid out of pocket for port-a-potties, food, water and a dumpster.

Most of the volunteers don't live in the neighborhood. Many of them live in other states, such as Ohio and North Carolina, and nearly all of them heard about the cleanup from Scott Presler, the organizer.

"I never intended it to turn into a national event. It was never supposed to be this big," Presler said.

Presler, who said he is an ardent supporter of Trump, is a grassroots conservative activist who has an enormous social media following. Presler said one tweet last week launched 1,000 trash bags in Monday's efforts.

"I'm a big Trump supporter, but I wanted people to know that's not the reason we're coming here today. This is not a pro-Trump rally, and this is not an anti-Rep. Cummings rally," Presler said. "This is truly the community coming together."

"This is truly the community coming together."

"I was, like, wow, what better way to serve humanity and get the president's message out?" said Fredrick Norman, a minister from Atlanta.

"It matters to me that people care. I don't care about Trump," Tyree said.

Dustin Fifer, of Baltimore, told 11 News the effort isn't ending Monday.

"I'm going to try and keep it going myself," Fifer said. "It won't happen overnight but slowly, if we get the ball rolling, it will get bigger and bigger and people will realize that people care about this place."

In just the first few hours, the group cleaned up two blocks of alleys and sidewalks. The hope is to make the effort a monthly event.

The volunteers cleared out piles of trash in vacant lots -- including furniture and TVs -- and organizers said they believe they hauled out 12 to 14 tons of trash, including three complete dumpster loads.