Volunteers from Mercy Pedalers, a nonprofit that provides homeless assistance, collaborated with about 20 area homeless men and women Wednesday morning on an American River levee cleanup in Sacramento that the organizers hope to make a reoccurring event.
“It’s a small crew, but it’s a mighty crew” said Sister Libby Fernandez, executive director of Mercy Pedalers and former director of Loaves and Fishes. Her group also numbered around 20.
“This is our first time, and we hope to do this maybe quarterly in different areas,” Fernandez said. “We want to give back to the community and work side by side with those who are suffering on the streets.”
Starting at Township 9 Park and extending to Two Rivers Park, Mercy Pedalers provided trash bags, gloves and buckets for campers and volunteers, along with a forty yard dumpster to haul away the trash.
“They have been here the last couple days, the campers themselves, really putting all the trash in one pile to make it easier for us to pick it up here on the levee,” Fernandez said.
Justin Santana, community engagement manager for the American River Parkway Foundation, was on hand to help with the cleanup and provide assistance with hazardous materials collected.
“I came to give them safety guidelines on how to clean it properly without hurting themselves,” he said. “To tell them about the hazards we could find out on the parkway — like syringes, sharps, batteries and anything that is environmentally unsafe or unhealthy for folks to pick up.”