Most Kansas University football fans look forward to the annual Kansas State University game for the chance to do battle with their in-state rivals.
But Linda Klinker looks forward to this game for the chance to get her hands on the mountain of aluminum cans that fans will drain during their game-day revelries. For Klinker and her fellow Cans for the Community volunteers, each of those empties means a much-appreciated donation to a local charity.
Cans for the Community is a local nonprofit group that gathers aluminum cans, sells them to an area recycling center, then donates all the proceeds to agencies that are working to make Lawrence better. Since it was founded in 2005, the organization has collected and recycled nearly 6 million aluminum cans, raising $80,000, all of which has been donated to local nonprofit groups, one $1,000 gift at a time. The most recent recipients have been Headquarters Counseling Center and Tenants to Homeowners Inc.
Klinker is expecting big things from this fall’s KU-KSU football game, set for Oct. 22.
“This is a huge game — it’s a fantastic can day,” she said.
Her goal is to collect 1,000 pounds of cans that day, keeping all those cans out of landfills and raising about $600 for charity.
She’ll have a lot of assistance, thanks to volunteers who will help on game day as part of the United Way Roger Hill Volunteer Center’s participation in Make a Difference Day on Oct. 22.
Launched by USA WEEKEND magazine in 1992, Make a Difference Day has grown into one of the largest community service events in the nation. Every year, 3 million people worldwide take time to serve in their communities as part of this national day of service.
“The Cans for the Community project is really fun and a bit unique for a day of service like this,” said Shannon Reid, volunteer coordinator for the United Way Roger Hill Volunteer Center. “Volunteers will not only be participating in service themselves, but will be helping other community members serve by giving them a way to recycle their aluminum for a good cause.”
Cans for the Community isn’t just active on game days. The organization collects cans every day at its 10 Can Houses — blue, metal recycling bins located throughout Lawrence. They also have collection bins in 90 area businesses. For more information on the program or for the locations of the Can Houses, visit www.cansforthecommunity.org.
“Most of the people who tailgate look forward to getting our recycling bags,” said Klinker, who is now partnering with KU Environs to set up and collect recycling bins around Memorial Stadium. “But we need to get the word out that they need to make an extra effort to recycle. Some people aren’t aware that when they recycle with us, their cans really make a donation to a nonprofit.”