EAST MISSOULA — Community members in East Missoula hosted a brand new event Saturday to clean up their neighborhood.
The drive-thru garbage and recycling drop off at Burnich Framing in East Missoula has been in the works for months.
Volunteer Violet Hopkins said she was excited to be a part of the effort.
“I'm really stoked that we were able to put on... this service and work with this really amazing crew of women who saw a need in the community and fulfilled it,” Hopkins said.
The event began Saturday at noon. Cars and trucks promptly pulled up to drop off trash collected for the neighborhood cleanup. In 52 minutes, volunteers said the dumpsters were already almost full.
Hopkins said the community response was positive, which encourages others to get involved.
"Volunteer, donate, get on the planning committee for next year, and help us do this bigger and better,” Hopkins said.
East Missoula United was formed in October of 2020 in response to a rezoning proposal that would have brought more storage units to the area.
“That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I think people were like, no, no more storage units,” Erika Hickey, East Missoula United organizer, explained in an interview.
After a number of residents spoke out and petitioned against the storage units, county commissioners denied the rezoning request.
“After that was successful, we kind of had all this momentum going, and decided that we wanted to make more good things happen in East Missoula,” Hickey said.
Next, East Missoula United decided to plan a clean up for Earth Day.
“Everybody in our community got really excited about it, so we ended up getting donations and sponsors and it just became kind of a bigger, bigger than East Missoula United event,” Hickey said.
With the money raised the group secured two industrial-size dumpsters from Republic Services and a Pacific Recycling dumpster for scrap metal.
“I think people out here (are) just kind of hungry for good like positive things to happen in their community,” Hickey said.
Based on the success of the event, the group says it does plan to host another one in the future.