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Can, bottle drive great way for non-profits to raise funds

While the temporary moratorium on returning cans and bottles for the 10-cent deposit amid the COVID-19 pandemic has led to returnables piling up in area residences, the situation has had an unexpected bright side.

Several highly successful can and bottle drives for local nonprofits have been held over the past few months in the community, often raising thousands of dollars while providing people with a much-needed way to unload those cans and bottles.

One incredible example was reported in Wednesday’s edition of The Mining Journal by Journal Staff Writer Lisa Bowers: The Janzen House managed to raise an astonishing $8,000 in this way, with $6,800 in cans and bottles and $1,090 in monetary donations.

“There were several other can drives prior to us announcing ours, so I was totally caught off guard with the response. We heard from so many people,” Janzen House assistant director Melissa Rife said in the article. “Some of them may not have been able to afford to donate, but with the bottle and can drive, more people were able to give.”

It all started because the residence along Spring Street, which provides shelter to people who are at risk of homelessness, needed a new refrigerator to hold the many donations of perishable foods it was receiving.

But it also needed a way to pay for it. So, Rife came up with the idea for a bottle and can drive to raise the funds. And the response was tremendous.

“At first, it was one of those $400 to $600 refrigerators that you would have in your home kitchen,” she said. “And then it was shared so many times on Facebook that then we were going to go for the freezerless refrigerator, which was about $1,000.”

That’s when the goal became the double-wide commercial refrigerator with glass doors, which cost around $3,200, according to the article.

And the funds above and beyond that will all go toward much-needed kitchen improvements, Rife said. Furthermore, the Janzen House donated some of its cans and bottles to other nonprofits to share the goodwill.

We commend all who helped make this possible, from those who donated their cans and bottles, to the volunteers and residents who collected and sorted them, to the beverage distributors and grocery stores that made the return process go as smoothly as possible.

We encourage other nonprofits to start their own fundraising can and bottle drives if they have not already, as it’s a great way to raise funds that allows many people to participate and give back, whether they have cash in hand or not.

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