Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance Cleans Up! – Editorial

The highway cleanup on Interstate 35E, sponsored by the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance (UMPA),  took place Saturday June 4th. The cleanup had been delayed by the storms that swept through the Twin Cities the weekend of May 21st. A cheerful group of seven met,  and after going over safety and procedure concerns, hit the road by 11am.  It was a beautiful summer day!

UMPA sign view headed South on 35E

We split into two teams and also had vehicle support with water, bars, and sandwiches nearby. With no adjacent fast food, the pickings were light with the exception of a few with a taste for “Ice House’ beer making frequent deposits!  By about 2pm the ending overpass was in sight, and it had heated up a bit.  On cue a generous breeze made the remaining cleanup feel much easier. This was the first spring cleanup of this site near Hugo, MN., after the move from Coon Rapids. With three on a side, we had just enough volunteers to cover it in one pass. The site could easily accommodate seventeen volunteers (8 per side,  4 teams working to the middle, and support people) and make the service a less demanding two-hour task. The site feels very rural and we always find something naturally beautiful or interesting along the way.

We were back at the cars by 3pm. Joshua, UMPA Treasurer, showed those gathered the new UMPA non-profit incorporation certificate from the State of Minnesota, and he discussed further options for the group, including a possible 501c3 Federal application.

In attendance were two UMPA Council Members, Joshua Adam Blesi and Bress Nicneven; three renewed UMPA members, Beth Bennett-Blesi, Aurora Albright, and myself; and two members of Lodge Yggdrasill, Joe and Domyno Zukauska .

This Saturday area Pagans will have another opportunity to experience serving meals at a Homeless Shelter at the Maplewood Family Service Center,  sponsored by UMPA. Please plan to attend this fun and rewarding service opportunity. Arrive by 5pm and be done by 7pm. Please confirm your participation with UMPA in advance!

Michelle, Aurora, and Grace serve Homeless Meals

In my years participating in UMPA events I have probably seen at least a hundred different people contribute at one time or another. I have met many interesting people and made many new friends… and had the a chance to chat with many old ones. You always get to know someone a lot better by offering service with them! I have also heard a hundred people say at each opportunity, helping out just didn’t work out this time. Many area spiritual groups have traditions asking community service of members within their structure. UMPA is a great way to meet new people and demonstrate your commitment to community service. Maybe participating in the fall highway cleanup can work out for you! Plan to attend a mid September to mid October cleanup date.

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