About 1,700 volunteers gather to pick up litter
COLUMBIA — The City of Columbia hosted its 21st annual Cleanup Columbia city-wide trash pick up event Saturday.
Volunteers of all ages from different organizations throughout the city grabbed their work boots, put on their gloves and spent their morning scavenging for litter.
Columbia resident and Truman VA Hospital employee Stephen Gaither has volunteered most of his life. He said serving his fellow citizens is a personal commitment he continues to feel rewarded by year after year.
"I think we volunteer because it's the price we pay for the space that we occupy," Gaither said. "Service is an important part of how we participate as a society and give back to that society."
Beside the rewards of volunteering, Gaither said the Truman VA Hospital organized its group of more than 50 volunteers to encourage its employees to be engaged in the community.
"Since we were young children we've heard about litter campaigns and how it detracts from our living space and how it can have an adverse effects on our health," Gatither said. "A litter pick-up campaign is an easy way to volunteer and benefits our entire society by having something beautiful."
Mickeya Linzie, a volunteer with the Truman VA Hospital, said Columbia is a great place to live and raise a family and its beauty is one of the reasons that make it an enjoyable place to be.
"I think living in a clean community makes it so much better because we have a lot of bikers, runners, we have a lot of people here that enjoy being outdoors," Linzie said.
According to Columbia Neighborhood Services Manager Leigh Kottwitz, Cleanup Columbia had about 1700 volunteers of all ages and abilities. Kottwitz said for some groups it is not only a service event but a social one too.
"This is a way they can get out while they're cleaning up and spend some quality time with friends and family since they can visit and share their time together, share funny stories. People will find very funny things while out there and hopefully have some fun memories from this event too," Kottwitz said.
Linzie said she values the opportunity to meet new people, especially because they are all working to help keep the city clean.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated with a new total number of volunteers provided by the City of Columbia.]