Make a difference: Join SPEDA’s student clean-up initiative

Triple Bag Challenge, set for Oct. 22-28, rewards environmental stewardship with prizes and valuable community service hours
SOMERSET, KENTUCKY (October 10, 2023) — Calling all students in Somerset and Pulaski County: It’s time to roll up your sleeves, grab those trash bags, and hit the streets to make a positive impact on your community.By doing so, you also have a chance to win a number of prizes, including $500 in cash.
It’s the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) Triple Bag Challenge, and it returns Oct. 22-28. This week-long contest, held in spring and fall, is open to all elementary through high school students in Somerset and Pulaski County. The Triple Bag Challenge inspires environmental stewardship while rewarding your cleanup efforts — not only in prizes but in providing a valuable community service experience to include on your resume and in applications for jobs, leadership programs, scholarships and colleges.

Here’s how it works: Register to participate with SPEDA (contact information at the end of this story), and then collect three bags of trash from local roadways between Oct. 22-28. Post before-and-after photos of your efforts on Facebook or Instagram using #spctriplesweep, and you have the chance to win. Prizes include the grand prize of $500 cash, gift cards, gas cards, and season passes to SomerSplash Waterpark.

Since its launch in 2019, the Triple Bag Challenge has rewarded remarkable dedication from students of all ages in keeping Somerset and Pulaski County beautiful.

“I continue to be inspired by our students’ dedication to keeping the Lake Cumberland area clean,” SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said. “They truly care about their community and want to make it the best it can be.”

The Triple Bag Challenge is one of many community cleanup initiatives held throughout the year. Other events include the U.S. Corps of Engineers Friends of Lake Cumberland Cleanup, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE’s Spring Clean Sweep, and the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce‘s Operation Beautification.

SPEDA sponsors Operation Beautification, which brought together 500 volunteers who cleaned trash on 86 miles of roadway and collected 836 bags of trash this spring in the program’s third year.
Girdler said he’d love to see similar results with this fall’s Triple Bag Challenge.

“Whether you’re getting out there on your own or assembling a group of friends to make a larger impact, I encourage you to register for the Triple Bag Challenge,” Girdler said. “Imagine if each one of our nearly 11,000 students in Pulaski County spent just one hour cleaning trash from the roadways — the impact would be phenomenal. Let’s make that kind of difference in our community and show our visitors and our residents how proud we are to be The Capital of Lake Cumberland.”

Girdler underscored the importance of parents and students signing up for the Triple Bag Challenge with SPEDA, as only those who complete the necessary paperwork will be eligible for prizes.

Additionally, students (or their parents, who are posting on their behalf) must ensure their privacy settings on social media posts related to the Triple Bag Challenge are set to “public” so that SPEDA can see those photos and confirm participation.

To take part in the fall Triple Bag Challenge, register with SPEDA by calling (606) 425-5409 or emailing