Sometimes getting dirty is exactly what it takes to clean a city.
Over the past week, Manchester resident Stacy Morales Garcia dedicated her time to picking up trash in the community. Driving around the community, she would see trash piling up on the side of roads and decided enough is enough.
“I was shocked,” she said when she saw the state of some roadsides, most notably those going toward the Normandy Lake area and behind the Manchester Industrial Park.
The idea came to her when she joined a “Trash Challenge” in Nashville three weeks ago via a Facebook group. Garcia, her 4-year-old daughter and a group of volunteers worked all day near Walmart at Charlotte Pike to clean up the area. Together, they filled two pickup truck beds and a van with bags of garbage.
“I thought it was fun to do that. Besides fun, it’s something good,” Garcia said.
She added she was happy to be able to set an example and teach a lesson to her child, who got tired during the process. Garcia told her that this kind of work is tiring, so to avoid getting tired, don’t throw away your trash like this.
During the week of April 1, Garcia began her work in Manchester and issued her first trash challenge. In three days with her trash grabber in hand, she collected 16 large trash bags full of garbage from roads in the Normandy are and next to/behind Manchester’s Zaxby’s.
“We are worried about keeping our own homes clean, but I think we should be worried about cleaning everyone’s home – the city,” she said.
“When you’re out and you see the trash, you don’t realize how much there is until you get down there,” Garcia added.
Her target areas are Asbury Road, Benson Road and Old Airport Road; Powers Bridge Road; and Mt. View Road. She made maps to connect the routes together and noticed those areas in particular have a lot of litter. The project is huge and though she is willing to tackle it herself, Garcia said she needs help to get it all done.
Garcia plans on going out every other weekend. She has trash grabbers, trash bags and gloves in her car, but it would be helpful if volunteers brought garbage bags and gloves as well.
Cleaning up the community is its own reward, but it brings Garcia immense satisfaction to look back at the area and see how beautiful it is without the trash. It also teaches life lessons to her children.
“My kids if they see me doing that, I want to be an example,” she said. “If you throw trash, it’s not good.”
If you wish to volunteer to help, Garcia posts her cleanup dates and locations on Facebook on Voluntarios por Humanidad (Volunteer for Humanity). The group posts in English and Spanish. Anyone is allowed to help out as long as they can transport themselves.
“Seeing it clean will make it all worth it,” she said.