Trash Bash

More than 200 volunteers have signed up to help out their community at Saturday's spring Trash Bash but organizers say there's still plenty of room for more.

At almost 20 years old, Trash Bash is one of Mesquite’s longest-running community service efforts and it’s not too late to jump in and do your part on Saturday – joining in with the volunteers who have already signed up to help reach Keep Mesquite Beautiful program director Selket Daese’s goal of 300 people giving their time to make the city a little cleaner.

Daese, who’s set a goal to collect about 4,000 pounds of litter on Saturday, said individuals and groups in Mesquite can still register to participate in Trash Bash through 5 p.m. on Friday.

“Since we are just coming out of the COVID-19 restrictions, I have a modest goal [when it comes to] volunteers,” Daese said. “As of today we have a little more than 200 registered but I am still hoping to get quite a few more.”

But Daese said Trash Bash about more than just picking up litter, especially in light of the events of the past year.

“This is all about getting people engaged with their environment and being present in the community,” she said. “And it can help alleviate personal isolation while still allowing participants to safely distance. Seeing people get back to some sort of ‘normal’ activity will [also hopefully] relieve the pall that COVID restrictions have put on our city.”

Now tied to – and serving as the kickoff event for – the recently announced Clean City Initiative, Saturday’s cleanup will add to the tens of thousands of pounds of litter that have been collected by residents and volunteers over the lifespan of Trash Bash.

Daese, though, said that besides seeing an all-around cleaner Mesquite from one day of work, Trash Bash can serve as a starting point for even more involvement throughout the city.

“One of the best results we see after Trash Bash is neighborhood groups pushing to organize cleanups in their areas,” Daese said. “For weeks after, residents, groups and businesses organize events to address their litter problems. It is so rewarding to see residents taking a few minutes out of their day to care for where they live. Another benefit of Trash Bash is acquainting residents with trails, parks and green areas they didn’t know existed in Mesquite that deserve appreciation. These actions create stronger bonds within the community and pride in Mesquite.”

Daese said KMB and the City of Mesquite are encouraging participants to post pictures to their social media accounts of their Trash Bash activities using the hashtag #MesquiteCleanCity to help spread the word after Saturday’s event.

Trash Bash started small – with just a handful of cleanup locations – but has grown through the years and now spans the entirety of Mesquite. The 2019 spring effort drew more than 600 volunteers and much of the increased participation in recent years has come from Mesquite ISD students.

“[It’s been] wonderful to see because youth involvement and education is a core value for KMB,” Daese said.

Daese adds that volunteering for Trash Bash is an opportunity to get involved no matter who you are. And she promises you'll enjoy the experience and feeling of pride from giving back to the community.

“[They] absolutely love this event,” she said. “We have a strong and very dedicated core of volunteers in Mesquite but Trash Bash allows everyone to participate since it doesn’t require special skills or preparation. All you need is some tennis shoes and KMB will equip you or your group with the rest.”

She said the event allows volunteers to introduce their families, friends and neighbors to the habit of giving back and volunteers have also said that Trash Bash has introduced them to other like-minded individuals and is a great avenue for new residents to familiarize themselves with city activities.

As for those who might not be able to physically participate, Daese said there are still ways to help out.

“Spread the word,” she said. “We cannot emphasize how much just mentioning these activities to [a person’s] inner circle impacts the city overall. If you feel that isn’t far enough, you can always make a donation to KMB, which is solely dedicated to keeping Mesquite clean, green and litter-free.”

Daese said organizers of Saturday’s Trash Bash will try to keep the event as contact-free as possible by allowing volunteers to stay in their vehicles while picking up and dropping off supplies and will provide masks and sanitizer upon request in addition to the supplies already provided by KMB.

Volunteers will be provided trash grabbers, safety vests, disposable gloves and trash bags and will be asked to follow current health protocols for wearing a face covering, social distancing and sanitizing. Supplies will be available to pick up curbside at 1616 N. Galloway Ave. between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Groups must be limited to 10. If you have a larger group, organizers can split you into smaller groups and have you cover different areas of the same location. Volunteers will dispose of trash bags and supplies at assigned locations.

Volunteers are asked to preregister by the end of business on Friday to help event organizers coordinate supplies and cleanup site locations. Contact Keep Mesquite Beautiful for any questions or concerns at 972.329.8331 or KMB@cityofmesquite.com and visit KMB’s Trash Bash page on the City’s website. All registration forms are available on the page.

Following on the heels of Trash Bash is another citywide effort to help keep things “clean, green and litter-free" – Mesquite Recycles Day scheduled for May 8 in the parking lot at Poteet High School.

Mesquite Recycles Day supports verified Mesquite residents by providing a central location for personal shredding, safe electronics disposal and small household items. More information is available online.

The next Trash Bash after is scheduled for Sept. 25. Daese also encourages residents to report areas that need some TLC using the MyMesquite App.

Kent Miller is a Mesquite native with three decades of newspaper experience. His passion for community journalism is reflected in his work on Make It Mesquite. He also produces editorial content for the City of Mesquite through Pegasus Media Dallas.