PRESS RELEASE – October 27, 2021
One year ago this week, a handful of volunteers joined me in Denny Park to participate in our first organized litter pick. We came together as like-minded citizens, frustrated by the degradation of our public spaces and determined to step up and take action. Fast forward to October 2021 and WE have become a movement!
We Heart Seattle is now backed by 200+ volunteers and has removed over 300,000 pounds of trash and 10,000+ needles from our public spaces. That’s 150 tons of trash from almost 90 litter picks and pop-up events covering some 20 parks and public spaces.
What I had not anticipated back in October 2020 was that in addition to our litter picking, We Heart Seattle would end up serving as a critical resource for people in need. As we worked in the parks and walked the streets, we met people living unhoused and in vulnerable situations. We got to know them, often working side by side, offering a helping hand, and introducing resources. This active and continuing engagement has resulted in helping more than 60 people out of dangerous, inhumane situations into safer living conditions, and connecting many others with much-needed resources.
Did we hit some bumps in our early days? Yes, we did. But we course-corrected as needed and have stuck to our mission of making Seattle beautiful and safe for all. Along the way, we gained approval as a 501(c)(3) corporation and brought on a professional Board of Directors providing governance and oversight. We are fortunate to have secured donated office space in downtown Seattle for operations and are forging relationships far and wide across the city and beyond.
What we see on a daily basis as we visit parks and encampments confirms that this city is facing a humanitarian and environmental crisis. Many organizations in this space are paralyzed by bureaucracy and meaningful data on the severity of the crisis is sorely lacking. But we have shown that a nimble, dedicated team from all walks of life can effect meaningful change through daily boots-on-the-ground efforts. Looking forward, we will be scaling and building on our successes to date.
I am honored and grateful to work side by side with you, humbled by your support and inspired by our accomplishments to date.
Andrea Suarez, Executive Director
We Heart Seattle