Volunteer 'litter guy' moving on if donations don't pick up
Nobody hired Mark Giesbrecht to clean the city.
Still, every day he takes a broom and a dust bucket out on the streets to pick up garbage for free.
“I don't go up and ask people for anything. I let my work speak for itself, said Giesbrecht, better known as Mark 'the litter guy.’
But Geisbrecht’s time sweeping the streets may be coming to an end. It's a job Winnipeggers seem to appreciate, but not enough to pay.
“If I worked for the city, would I be able to do as good a job? Honestly, in my opinion, no,” he said from along his clean-up route in Winnipeg’s Exchange district.
Giesbrecht doesn't have an official job title or receive a paycheque. The sweeper said he provides the service because he likes to keep the city clean and people are thankful.
Giesbrecht did the same job for close to a decade in Toronto and made a living. He moved to back to Winnipeg because it’s his home.
He may have to return to Toronto, however, because he’s not receiving enough donations.
After 90 minutes of work Friday, he made just over $5; but to make it worthwhile, Giesbrecht said he needs to earn at least $10 to $15 an hour.
“That's too bad because he does a lot of hard work for this community,” said Luke Nolan, owner of The Haberdashery Guys and Girls, which is along Giesbrecht's route.
The area the litter guy covers is often lined with trash. Giebrecht said the garbage downtown includes piles of cigarette butts, needle wrappers and broken glass that need removal.
The litter guy said he has started looking for rides back to Toronto and that if the job doesn't pay soon, he'll have to go.
Take Pride Winnipeg has seen Giebrecht in action and said whatever happens, all Winnipeggers have a lot to learn from him.
"He has taken his own approach and his own initiative and I believe that it’s something we should all be doing on a regular basis,” said Jorge Orellana with the organization.
In a statement, the City of Winnipeg said it commended citizens like Giesbrecht.
“If they can do so safely, we commend any citizen who decides they would like to help keep our city clean,” said the city.