Good Shepherd gives back to community

By 
  • April 24, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto’s first real warm spring day welcomed 36 glove-clad volunteers carrying plastic garbage bags or brooms throughout a downtown section of the city April 18.

The group of community volunteers, staff and clients at Good Shepherd Centre, spent more than an hour clearing the streets of trash in a two- to three-block radius of the homeless centre.

“We’re just taking responsibility for some of the mess we’ve created by having the centre here,” said Br. David Lynch, executive director of Good Shepherd Ministries.

The centre feeds about 900 meals and snacks daily, and provides 91 beds for those in need. Lynch says that a certain percentage of the people who come through the centre are likely causes of the trash strewn throughout the neighbourhood, and this cleanup initiative is one way of helping to remind them to act responsibly.

The annual cleanup is a chance to help people take ownership of the trash problem, he added. 

“We’re just taking pride in our environment,” Lynch said.

Miroslav Kaszula, one of the centre’s clients, was helping out for his first time. He said it felt like a rejuvenation and a re-building. He also liked that people were curious about the cleanup.

“Somebody passing by on the streetcar yelled out and asked us what we were doing,” he said. “By doing this, we get out and learn to help each other and meet our neighbours, which is good because many people don’t.”

Good Shepherd Ministries planned its cleanup to coincide this year with the city’s clean-up weekend, an initiative started by Toronto Mayor David Miller only a few years ago, which encourages all Torontonians to spend 20 minutes picking up their neighbourhood trash.

The centre’s own cleanup began in the mid-morning sun, with a “divide and conquer approach.” The team broke down into smaller groups to cover several blocks at the same time, with some groups equipped to safely dispose of needles. The morning finished with a barbecue at the centre for all those involved.

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