It’s never too late in life to dedicate time and passion to a project that affects the planet in a positive way. In fact, a group of residents, all over the age of 80, at Fellowship Square in North Central Phoenix, have spearheaded a vigorous recycling program in their community.
To date, Greta Grier, 80, Bev Arthur, 85 and Anna Barker, 83 (as well as others on their committee) have hand-collected and recycled more than 300 pounds of items from their senior living community that serves 350 residents with an average age of 88 years old.
“We felt there was a need for recycling here. Everything was simply going in the garbage,” explains Grier. “So we went door-to-door, explaining our mission and getting residents excited about saving trash from landfills that could be recycled.”
The three ladies have devoted nearly every Saturday since December to the collection, sorting and bagging recyclable items like water bottles, aluminum cans and tins. They drop them off weekly at a local recycling company and any money collected goes back into the residents’ fund. Additionally, they collect newspapers, glass bottles or jars, and then take these items to the Waste Management bins on the property.
Grier uses a walker and an oxygen tank but feels strongly this process has made her stronger and healthier as she’s getting “more exercise than I have in a long time.”
Arthur says the group is actively seeking more help for their efforts, as aches and pains tend to set in after a long day of recycling for their team. They have a few residents on their board who help out as well, but they’d love more interest from the community.
“Our next phase is to add recycling bins to every floor of our buildings. This amounts to 15-20 bins and the costs adds up,” Arthur points out.
Barker spends over six hours per week on this project but says, “I don’t care how many hours it takes, if I keep trash out of the landfill and make the planet better for our kids and grandkids, every hour spent is worth it.”
Fellowship Square Phoenix, 2002 W. Sunnyside Drive, is part of Christian Care Companies, a not-for-profit provider of senior housing and services, so there’s not currently an abundance of excess funds to pay for the recycling bins and the group would be grateful for donations of bins or cash to help fund their project. Donations can be made in person or via mail: Fellowship Square, 2002 W. Sunnyside Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85029. Make checks payable to Fellowship Square Phoenix and put “recycling program” in the memo line.