Woman strives for community cleanliness while picking up street trash

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Just a little over a year ago, Bobbie Williams started to pick up garbage off the streets in Tillsonburg.

While passing her by, many people stopped and chatted or called out “Thank You!” from their vehicles.

Some ask her why she does it.

“I respond depending on how I feel,” said Williams. “It’s great exercise. Or it feels good to pay it forward. Or I enjoy the fresh air. However, I always enjoy seeing it clean … for five minutes or perhaps five seconds.”

On any given day she can be out there picking up litter.

“I’ll have just finished one side of the street and cross over to do the other side, only to see a freshly thrown pop can or Tim Hortons cup on the other side,” she said. “At first, momentarily, truly this ticked me off. Then I thought about it and realized that’s what this is all about. I am doing this to maintain a cleanliness where and when I can. Oh, it would be heaven to think that once I cleaned it, it would stay clean for a day, a week, a month, but now that is most likely Heaven and I’m not there yet.”

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Sometimes when Williams is out and about she ends up chatting with someone who tells her they are also picking up garbage in a park or some place close by.

“I do know one or two of these ladies that really are doing what they told me,” she said. “One is keeping a school yard clean whereby she lives. The other is continually cleaning a portion of a walking path. Both of these women are ‘walking their talk.’ I see it as I’m out checking and rechecking the areas I clean. Now imagine if each and every one of you that has said to me ‘I’d love to help you’ would take a street or area close by and maintain its cleanliness? Wouldn’t that be lovely! Not to mention a whole lot easier.”

Williams’ message to anyone picking up local garbage is “do not get discouraged.”

“You will clean it only to see garbage on the street or area very shortly thereafter,” she said. “That’s humanity unfortunately – not at its best. So one has to ‘just do it’ and leave the rest to God. After a while folks will stop and thank you, sometimes wave and beep at you.

“Perhaps someone will ask you why you’re doing this and maybe say they’d like to help you. I bet that’ll make you feel good! So if you’re out there thinking and talking about making Tillsonburg a cleaner, lovelier place to live in, don’t talk about it … just do it! And perhaps we’ll pass each other in the streets.”

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