Cleaning and connecting

Service, bonding the focus of CommUNITY Clean-Up Day

Cleaning up litter in parks, on the sidewalk and around the city is one way to help a community, and the CommUNITY Clean-Up Day will be as much about bonding with neighbors as doing a good deed.

“What we’re hoping is that they’ll be able to meet other families,” said Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Financial Development Director Kim Jass-Ramirez of the event set for 4-6 p.m. Oct. 29, beginning at the YMCA, 108 Washington St. “We’re not just cleaning the Y; We’re starting here, but we’ll move up to the neighborhoods toward the library.”

Marshalltown Public Library Youth Services Librarian Joa LaVille said the idea for the event has several sources.

“This summer, we had the ‘Build a Better World in Marshalltown’ challenge; a lot of kids participated, and they wrote down their vision for what would make Marshalltown better,” she said, adding almost every participant mentioned picking up litter as a way to improve the town.

Along with the library and the YMCA, organizations like Not in Our Town (NIOT), Cleaniac and Immigrant Allies will also be helping to host the event.

LaVille, who is also part of Immigrant Allies, said the event is meant to be “a way to show that all kinds of people in our community are capable and willing to contribute to make our community better,” and added “I hope that we get a very diverse turnout in terms of ages and all kinds of backgrounds to come together and say ‘We all care about Marshalltown.'”

Jass-Ramirez said the clean-up day was inspired, in part, by a similar Cleaniac effort earlier this year. That effort also involved many community partners.

Cleaning is estimated to take about an hour, and pizza will be served at the library afterward to those who participated in clean-up.

LaVille encouraged those interested in participating to register at the library website.

“There’s an online registration on the library’s online calendar,” she said. “We’re asking people to register so we can be more organized about the teams.”

Families, as well as children 10 and older, are invited to register and participate. If a child is under 10 years old, they must register with a parent or caregiver.

LaVille said to call the library if inclement weather is a concern that afternoon, as the building will be open. No back-up date is currently set for the clean-up day.

Volunteers from sponsoring organizations will be there to help clean up litter, and Jass-Ramirez said she’d like to see similar events in the future.

“We haven’t talked about it, but I’m sure we would,” she said. “It was so easy to put together because it’s a lot of groups that are used to working together; I could easily see it continuing.”

To register, visit and click “Library Event Calendar” and then click “CommUNITY Clean-Up Day 4-6 p.m.” under Oct. 29. For more information, call (641) 754-5738


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or