More than a dozen people showed up to clean Ravine Park on Sunday, in an act of community solidarity following the tragic stabbings that left one teen girl dead an another in hospital earlier this week.
They spent about an hour walking through the park, with garbage bags and bins for needles.
Volunteers picked up carpets, shopping carts, wrappers and metal frames, as well as both needles and condoms.
The garbage collecting effort was organized by Kyle Hansen, a financial advisor who lives near the park, which stretches behind Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
Hansen created a Facebook group on Nov. 1, the day after the tragic events at Abbotsford Senior.
“Let’s get together to clean up the park that surrounds both the high school and the middle school,” Hansen wrote “It’s not safe for kids anymore.”
The group quickly grew to over 400 members, with many commenting with words of support for the idea, saying they are tired of seeing trash in the park. Some commenters attributed the amount of trash in the park to homeless campers.
Jesse Wegenast, a pastor with 5 and 2 Ministries who works closely with Abbotsford’s homeless population, said he was concerned with some of the comments he saw in the group. Some people seemed to threaten backlash against the homeless population at large for the actions of one homeless person, Gabriel Klein, the man charged with murder in connection with Tuesday’s incident.
“There are concerns that everyone will get painted with the same brush,” he said.
But those who showed up for the clean-up did not appear to have that mentality, Wegenast said.
Video of the event to come to AbyyNews.com soon.