By ALEJANDRO CONTRERAS
It’s 9 a.m. on May 8, and Charles Haggard is manning the eyeglass station at Poteet High School for Mesquite Recycles Day.
It’s a busy day for the retired high school coach and counselor, who can see cars snaking through the parking lot all the way out to North Galloway Avenue.
A couple of cars have pulled up to his station to drop off donations.
“Do you take the cases too?” a woman asked Haggard in reference to an eyeglass case.
“We do save the cases,” Haggard replied. “We normally give them out to somebody in a shelter or somewhere that will give them to people who need them.”
By the end of the day, Haggard had collected almost a full box of eyeglasses. Haggard has been volunteering for Keep Mesquite Beautiful, Inc. for eight years.
Keep Mesquite Beautiful, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that educates the community about recycling and keeping the environment clean.
The organization is funded by public donations but also receives some funding from the city of Mesquite.
They also hold Trash Bash events to get the community to participate in a clean-up event. Volunteers like Haggard are the heart of the organization.
They’re motivated to see change happen in Mesquite by reusing resources and preventing littering.
Mesquite Recycles Day is one of the organization’s most popular events. Residents can drop off recyclable items to be reused or disposed of properly. The event is held twice a year, with the second one being in November.
People can drop off items such as clothes, books, paper, household goods, electronics, tires, batteries, ink cartridges, toys and lightbulbs.
“99% of people [who donate] are really personable and friendly,” Haggard said. “[They’re] easy going and appreciative of what everyone is doing,”
Selket Daese, executive director of Keep Mesquite Beautiful, Inc. said she wants to educate young people about the importance of caring for the environment.
“We’re just constantly consuming,” Daese said. “Recycling helps us keep a renewed society because there’s no way you can get rid of all the trash. The goal we want is to have zero waste, so trying to move it into a zero-waste society is a constant fight.”
Anna Barry, who has lived in Mesquite for 41 years, became aware of Keep Mesquite Beautiful, Inc. from her water bill.
Barry has been donating for seven years. She said she donates clothes and books, and disposes of ink batteries and shredded paper.
“Some of the stuff I have are in a box where I put things that I want to donate,” Barry said. “Yesterday, and the day before I was going through sorting things like clothing and papers.”
Haggard said he just wants to help and provide for the Mesquite residents so they can have access to different resources if needed.
“We’re all just wanting to be successful and the people that need stuff get stuff,” Haggard said. “Our part of it is encouraging people to take advantage of opportunities that they have.”