Marquette Lions Club collects mountain of cans for Pediatric Cancer Project

MARQUETTE — Can and bottle deposits are nearing a return, but because they’ve been closed for so long, many people have cans and bottles piling up in their homes. The Marquette Lions Club recently hosted a can drive. People could get rid of their bottles and cans without wasting them, and the best part is that the donations will go toward a great cause–the Lions Club Single District 10 Pediatric Cancer Project.

“It’s a mission from the International Lions Club to help children that are battling cancer and their families with expenses that they may have,” said Mary Rule, one of the project’s coordinators. “And we have been trying to get the word out to all of the families that surround us here to let them know that we’re here to help them and we can offer them resources. And not only money; we do have other sources of support that we can offer them.”

The club received so many cans and bottles that they had to find a new place to store them until the deposits open back up. So for now, this enormous mountain of cans is being kept in a barn at the Marquette County Fairgrounds.

“Everyone has been completely generous,” Rule said. “And what’s been really exciting to us is that Econofoods has been a very big help to us in this process. They’ve been very willing to try to accommodate us. We are hoping that we can work directly with the distributors to see if we can get these bottles and cans back to them in a safe manner and as expeditiously as possible.”

An unexpected outcome of this project for the Lions was an awareness of the environmental issues that come with so many people being unable to return their bottles and cans.

“One of the byproducts of this can drive is that we have started to see how people are struggling to keep their homes safe and clean and not have to put their cans and bottles in the landfills, but keeping them where they can return them as soon as the bans are lifted by the state,” explained Rule. “When we look at this small pile that we’ve collected here in comparison to what there must be out there throughout all of Michigan, it’s a very big concern.”

The Lions hope this project will help decrease the amount of recyclables going into landfills across the state, and most importantly, provide financial aid to UP families battling pediatric cancer.

The club is now in the process of sorting and taking inventory of the bottles and cans, until they can be deposited to help kids in need.