It may seem simple, and it really can be…
Rosie Moran, coach of the Sunnyside High School Grizzly Dance Team, wanted to bring people together.
“I wanted to unify the community,” she said of her birthday wish.
Instead of asking for presents and cake, Moran planned to clean up trash at 32 sites around the community. She spearheaded the effort via Facebook, hoping to tackle the effort in 32 days.
Due to weather issues, the task didn’t get completed prior to July 11, her birthday. But, she hasn’t given up and has four more sites left on her to-do list.
The effort has been rewarding for Moran. “I wanted to give people a purpose in beautifying the community.”
Many have responded, showing up to help when the sites were announced on social media, she said.
Kevin Concienne and Norma Mendoza were constant companions, helping to fill trash bags along the roadways.
The most recent site of the effort was along South First Street near the Sunnyside Eagles Aerie Lodge. Just yesterday, Moran was assisted by her sister Monica Frausto and two nieces, Vivica and Monique Frausto.
They hauled off debris from various locales, both local garbage and trash from other communities.
“We found something from Miners, which you know isn’t here in Sunnyside,” Moran said.
Typically, she planned to venture out in the evenings when temperatures were much cooler than they are in the late morning and early afternoon.
Moran and the trio of Fraustos, however, braved the nearly 90-degree temperatures so they could keep to busy schedules.
The entire project began with the clean-up at Clem Senn Field the day after Sunnyside High School’s graduation ceremonies.
“It was amazing how many water bottles and commencement programs were out there,” Monica Frausto said.
Both women said they have been amazed at the number of tires they’ve found in random places.
“There were also a lot of plastic bags and straws, clothes and shoes,” Moran said of the random trash recovered around town.
Some of the plastic bags were around for a while, she said. “They’d just crumble.”
Garbage can lids and seven $1 bills were also recovered.
Moran said she donated the money to her church.
“I’m just grateful for the support,” she said.
There were many people who expressed supportive comments, wishing they could join in the effort. Moran said their schedules conflicted with their desire to help.
Others showed up at a site without knowing what was happening. One man named Ramon had just gotten off work, was riding his bike and saw people picking up trash. He stopped to help.
“You could tell he was tired,” Frausto said. “It’s the last thing most people want to do after work, but he stopped and helped.”
Moran said she’s come to appreciate the beauty of the community a little more.
“I’ve seen beautiful sunrises and sunsets,” she said.
Also witnessed has been people’s willingness to help the community.
“It feels great,” Moran said. “It’s opened my eyes to see we can come together as a community.”
There are people interested in additional efforts like the one she started.
“After living in California for eight years, I returned to Sunnyside and wanted to implement recycling efforts and other community-based activities,” Moran said.
She believes such efforts give people something positive on which they can focus and take pride.
“It doesn’t take much,” Moran said.
The effort to do something positive, like picking up the random trash in the community, just requires someone willing to get out there and “… start it,” she said.
“If it feels good and is honest for a positive reason, it makes sense.”