How to help
To donate cans, drop them off at the blue can “house” receptacles at:
• Allen Press parking lot, 10th and Delaware streets
• Checkers, 23rd and Louisiana streets
• Hillcrest Shopping Center, Ninth Street and Centennial Drive
• Hy-Vee, 4000 W. Sixth St.
• Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway
• Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bob Billings Parkway and Iowa Street
• Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Third and Maine streets
• Mass Beverage, next to Target at 31st and Iowa streets
• Miller Mart, Wakarusa Drive and Clinton Parkway
• Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 N.H.
Sixty-six thousand aluminum cans — that’s what it takes for Cans for Community to make a $1,000 donation to a Lawrence nonprofit group.
After giving more than $61,000 back to the community, Lawrence Sertoma Club recognized the group for its efforts Tuesday evening with its Service to Mankind Award.
Linda Klinker and seven other volunteers are the backbone of the organization, which collects aluminum cans from receptacles around town, sells back the cans and donates the money to local nonprofits.
“I’m just speechless,” Klinker said after receiving the award. “We’re just a group of people who pick up cans out of the garbage.”
Cans for the Community started only five years ago, but the group has collected almost 5 million cans to raise money to donate to 57 local groups. That task isn’t always a glamorous one, either.
“All of us own a pair of sticky shoes, and all of our cars smell like beer and old pop cans,” Klinker said.
Those stinky cars pay off, though, for nonprofits ranging from Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association, which received the first donation in August 2005, to the Douglas County Dental Clinic, which received the most recent one on Monday. Big Brothers Big Sisters, LINK and Meals on Wheels are among the other groups that have received multiple donations from Cans for the Community, all without having to fill out a grant application.
Barbara Braa, a member of Sertoma, said the group was the perfect choice for this year’s Service to Mankind Award, which is given to a nonmember each year. Normally the award is given to just one person, but Cans for the Community was doing so much good, Sertoma decided to award the whole group.
“It’s good for the environment. It’s good for the nonprofits. How can you go wrong?” Braa said.
Sertoma, an abbreviation for Service to Mankind, is an international organization that primarily focuses on raising money for those with communicative disorders. In Lawrence, the group has about 35 members and is most well known for its barbecue that takes place every year in May.