If you’ve always assumed that those folks in bright orange safety vests who pick up trash along the highway are inmates from a local prison, look again. In Alberta, they may very well be members of West End Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton.
Dale, Diana, Jason, Katie, and Dustin Pinkster pick up trash.
Every year, hundreds of Albertans participate in the annual highway cleanup. The Alberta government pays $100 per kilometer (0.6 mile) to groups who clean up both sides of a highway. Last year, province-wide, 7400 volunteers collected over 55,000 bags of garbage. This year, West End CRC volunteers cleaned approximately 20 kilometers of highway near Edmonton.
Diana Pinkster was inspired to volunteer with her four children after a recent road trip from B.C. “I couldn’t believe all the garbage there was along the highway,” she said. “It was a real eye-opener for the kids. They’ll think twice now about throwing garbage out the car window.”
Trudy Boyer had fun picking up garbage with Pinkster’s children. “The kids took it as a competition and were racing to find more garbage.”
Two other things were on Boyer’s mind as she cleaned the highway: “One was disappointment that people would throw so much trash along the highway; the other was the joy of spending time with individuals I didn’t know and getting to know them, as well as having fun cleaning up God’s creation. At the end of the day, when we looked back and saw all the orange garbage bags lined up along the highway, there was a good feeling of accomplishment.”
This was Boyer’s second year of participation, and she’s looking forward to doing it again next year. The garbage still bothers her, she said, “but now I am doing something about it and that feels good, plus I am raising money for our church, and that feels good, too!”
Including the recyclable bottles and cans they found, West End CRC volunteers raised over $2000 for the church’s building fund.