BAKERSFIELD, CA - Litter can be seen everywhere along our local roadways. It's a problem city officials have been fighting for years. Last month, the Freeway Litter Cleanup program kicked off with the help of the Bakersfield Homeless Center. But now, the city is asking for more help.
"It's pretty interesting. You find a lot of trash, lot of trash. Things you wouldn't expect," said David Orn, part of the cleanup crew. Along Highway 99, workers with the Bakersfield Homeless Center spend their day picking up trash. "We've only worked a half a day today and we almost got 100 bags and usually we average anywhere from 80 to 100 bags a day," said Orn.
But, while doing their job, workers say many times they have trash thrown at them.
"That's our worst thing right there. People see what we're doing, yet they want to throw trash out at us because we're picking it up. They're thinking, go ahead pick my stuff up. That's not how it's supposed to work," said James Dorton, part of the cleanup crew.
The fight against litter is an ongoing problem in Bakersfield.
Starting next month, the Bakersfield Homeless Center will add an additional crew to help with the freeway cleanup.
"Our goal is to have people on the job July 8th so that our second crew is out there working, cleaning up with the other crew," said Louis Gill with the Bakersfield Homeless Center.
Gill says for many of these people it's more than just a job. It's a chance to change their livelihood.
"You feel better when you're able to maintain your own family and not having to ask for assistance every day. That's what we're doing. People are able to have pride and say I've got a job. The truth is, they can get another job and a better job when they already have a job," said Gill.
James Dorton was homeless for a year and says now that he's employed, his life is on the right track.
"Every day waking up wondering where you're going to get your next meal, watching around to see if people are going to be noticing you because I knew everybody in the community and I didn't want them to say, hey look where's he's at now. But, I want them to see where I'm at right now," said Dorton.
Gill hopes to expand the program soon, adding more crews to pick up litter.