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Casey Christie / The Californian

Tom and Gail Burch find some interesting things on the roadways while picking up trash after the Kick Off the Freeway Litter Program on Stockdale Highway in this May 2013 file photo.

Keep Bakersfield Beautiful received the National Community Improvement Award for Litter Prevention on Tuesday, the opening day of the Keep America Beautiful convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The organization cited the city's freeway cleanup efforts for the award.

Ray Scott of Bakersfield, newly named director of Keep California Beautiful, and two representatives from the city of Bakersfield, Sal Moretti and Luda Fishman, are attending the three-day convention.

Moretti and Fishman gave a presentation on the freeway cleanup program earlier in the day.

While Keep Bakersfield Beautiful helps schools with campus composting and recycling programs, sponsors the annual Greater Bakersfield Green Expo and is behind numerous other beautification and education efforts, it was cited for the national award for its freeway clean-up efforts.

Crews made up of clients from the Bakersfield Homeless Center began cleaning litter on freeways on May 3 last year. The clients are paid minimum wage.

By November as many as 42 clients a week were picking up freeway litter. According to the Keep Bakersfield Beautiful website, virtually of those workers have now secured housing.