By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Organizers of the Keep New Mexico Clean and Beautiful event in the city of Portales are hoping for a big turnout on Saturday.
Veda Urioste, one of the coordinators of the event, said last year there were 274 participants and 714 trash bags were filled with garbage from around the community.
“It’s amazing how much trash we picked up last year,” Dianne Parker, city councilor and co-coordinator of the event, said. “We filled trucks loaded with garbage.”
Parker is working along with Urioste and Pat Willis, Roosevelt County Chamber manager, as coordinators of the event.
Urioste said people have signed up for the event, but she said volunteers can just show up to City Park (behind the Memorial Building on 7th St. and Abilene Ave.) between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. to participate in the clean-up. She said the volunteers will target areas around the community for their cleaning efforts. Urioste said designated areas will be given to volunteers on Saturday morning, including parks.
“This is so important to me,” Parker, who has been helping with the event since 1995, said. “We need to clean up all of the trash in our town. People who come through notice it. It (beautifying event) has been growing. It’s a lot of fun. They’re (people who help) very aware. They see how much trash accumulates.”
Urioste said trash bags will be provided and once volunteers pick up their areas, they can head back to the City Park were hot dogs and sodas will be provided. Local businesses have donated gift certificates to the event, which will be given out to participants as prizes.
Urioste said the trash walk on Saturday is one of the two biggest beautifying efforts in the Portales community during the year. The other event is the Trek for Trash event, in which organization members pick up trash from designated miles off of the highways through the Adop-a-Mile Program. The event takes place in October. She said those organization members will also be cleaning their designated miles on Saturday.
“I feel they’re (beautifying events) really important,” Urioste said. “It gears towards younger individuals and making them realize how much trash is thrown in the community. When they are cleaning (on Saturday), hopefully it makes them think twice before throwing trash on the streets and not in the dumpsters.”
Parker and Urioste both said they would like to develop more community beautifying events, perhaps monthly. Parker said they will be having a clean-up campuses contest for Portales schools. She said the students from the winning school, for example Brown Elementary, will have a traveling trophy presented at their school after the judges determination.