Hundreds volunteer for trash pick-up effort

 Keeping Odessa trash-free Saturday was clearly on “Tootsie” Videtto’s mind as she and her 6-year-old grandson Carrson Videtto walked down Fifth Street picking up discarded items along curbsides and the sidewalk.
 This was the first time Videtto said she volunteered her time in helping out for a citywide trash picking effort, but was urged to pitch in, so to speak, when her husband, Paul, asked if she would be interested in participating in the 30th annual Don’t Mess with Texas Trash Off event.
 Videtto said yes.
 “My husband is an Odessa employee and he’s a code enforcement officer,” Videtto said. “It’s for a good cause to help keep the city clean.”
 Videtto wasn’t the only person who kept the city clean as a legion of volunteers fanned out to various parts of Odessa and helped keep certain areas clean.
 There were about 50 locations that were targeted for the civic effort which included polishing city-owned sculptures around parks, Cristale Galindo, program director of the Keep Odessa Beautiful non-profit group, which sponsored Saturday’s three-hour clean up event.
 “There were 1,500 people who registered across the city and who have signed up to pick-up litter,” Galindo said. “This isn’t a one-person job.”
 After the clean up was done, the volunteers trekked back to Noel Heritage Plaza where they were treated to a free lunch and children amused themselves with face painting booths and jumpers. There were also booths that gave information are composting and a live rock band called “Vocal Trash,” whose instruments were made of recycled materials.
 Sonia Ramirez, one of the Keep Odessa Beautiful board members, explained that trash pick-up events are a useful tool to educate the public about the value of keeping the city streets clean. The Trash-off event is done once a year in Odessa, Ramirez said.
 “It educates people to know exactly what it is,” she said.
 For members of the Midland-based Permian Basin LGBTQ (plus) picking trash off the streets in Odessa also serves as an outreach effort to let people know of the group.
 “We’ll do it again,” said group member Zac Leard, of Midland, who spent part of his day with his colleagues cleaning up around JBS Parkway and Loop 338. “Hopefully our LGBT group will be bigger.”