Steinbach and area residents rallied last Saturday for the annual Pick Up and Walk event. It was the second year of the event since the two-year hiatus.
Eldon Wollman, Steinbach's Head of Solid Waste, says the 1,143 volunteers collected 12.82 tonnes of garbage, a higher number than last year’s 12.52 tonnes. To him, it's "gratifying and humbling."
Also contributing to the number were Ukrainian newcomers who wanted to give back to the community that has been welcoming over the past year.
Daryna Malyukh was born and raised in Ukraine, and it was her first time participating in Pick Up and Walk. She participated with a group of around 60 Ukrainian newcomers.
“We love that our town is so clean. But, we didn't know that people are cleaning here every year. We decided to be a part of Brethren Church community because this church is amazing to our community, to Ukrainians, they just serve us a lot, and we just decided to step up and be with them,” Malyukh says.
She adds she was “amazed” to see all the Ukrainian newcomers wanting to participate as it’s not a popular event in Ukraine.
She says that during their walk, they stumbled upon garbage dumps. However, she is "proud" of Steinbach residents taking action.
“I feel so good. I can see so many people, families and kids, that all are participating and cleaning. And even when we were walking with my daughter, I kept telling her like, a clean space, it starts from us," she says.
For the Ukrainian community, Malyukh says this is only the beginning, and they don’t want to stop there.
"Our association was created two weeks ago, and now we kind of want to lead our Ukrainian community and show the good example," she explains.
Finally, Malyukh wants to share a message with the community.
“First of all, I want to say thank you for this event that was organized for all of us and thank you for supporting all Ukrainian newcomers,” she says. “Make sure that where you live or where you go, it's always a clean place. Keep up with what you do. Build community and participate in all of the events. It just gives you a chance to meet all, and just to be together. Life is busy, life is crazy, but this event makes a community stronger, and it feels like a family.”
With files from Adi Loewen and Kenton Dyck.