As many of you know, on the first Saturday of every month (sometimes the second Saturday because of holidays falling on the first Saturday), many of us in the UpDoNA community meet in the lobby of The Spire (891 14th Street) to clean up the surrounding streets. We usually hit 5 to 10 streets, depending on the number volunteering that day. This activity is spearheaded by UpDoNA’s Clean Sustainable Denver Committee, co-chaired by Kristen Deak and Carolyn Benton.
UpDoNA has acquired yellow vests with the UpDoNA logo for us to wear, to help spread the word about UpDoNA. On Saturday, December 3, I participated in the Clean Up and had a serendipitous thing happen. After I finished up my work on Arapaho Street, I was waiting at the dumpsters in the parking lot behind The Spire for the rest of the crew to gather.
A homeless man approached me. At first all he said was “Denver is full of haters.” We struck up a conversation about the challenges on the street and how the government and the community might help to make things better. After a few minutes of conversation, he asked what I was doing. I explained our monthly clean-up project. His face lit up and he asked me if I had an extra trash bag. I did! He then joined me as we both started to clean up the trash in the parking lot.
When the rest of the group convened there, he asked about the gloves we were using and one of our members offered a pair of disposable gloves that he could use in his clean up. He continued working in the lot as our group dispersed. It was a good reminder of the humanity of those who are experiencing homelessness in our neighborhoods and the importance to the community of simple tasks like our monthly clean-ups.
Attention non-Spire members of UpDoNA. We meet at The Spire for our monthly clean-ups because most of the participants live in that building. But our hope is to expand the clean-ups so that several groups simultaneously start from different residential buildings within the UpDoNA footprint.
Our goal is to eventually have all of the streets within Upper Downtown getting a monthly refresh. If residents in your building (even if it’s just one of you to start) would like to get a clean-up going in your immediate surroundings, please let us know. We can send one or more “regulars” to meet you at your building and get things going.