Twenty-one volunteers rolled up their sleeves and helped remove tons of trash in Billings, Montana as part of the city’s Great American Cleanup on April 30, 2016.
City residents had long-desired to clean a drainage ditch seen as an eyesore and were excited that the project finally gained traction. One boy riding his bike by the project site got inspired and helped out. He said everyday he walks by the ditch and “It is so great to see my neighborhood getting cleaned up.”
Volunteers pulled out old tires, pipes, bedding, barbed wire, bikes and more, filling an entire dump truck that was donated by the city. Volunteer Dalton Packard spoke for many workers, saying, “It is great we all can work together for a common goal, to make our community clean and safe.”
The project was made possible through the support of local community organizations like South Side Neighborhood Taskforce, Phillips66 Refinery, Community Leadership Development Inc.,The Hope Center, Elks Lodge #394 and many others, along with coordination from the Global Peace Foundation.
The project not only transformed an unsightly dumping site into a clean space but inspired people to take action in other parts of the community. Some cleaned their streets and brought trash bags to the dumpster while others stopped to thank the volunteers for their effort.
Residents are now enjoying the beautiful area, including volunteer Bill Hope who wanted to clean the ditch for five years. “I feel so fulfilled with the project,” he said. “I walked my dogs down there this morning and five mallards, two ring-necked doves and a whole flock of red-winged blackbirds were all ‘doing their thing.’ How great!”