The Sarnia Lions Club is on a mission to collect the city’s empty bottles and cans so the service club can continue to support projects that benefit the whole community.
Sarnia Lions Club president Ron Armstrong is asking community members to drop off their empty beer or pop cans, or their empty beer, wine and liquor bottles at 521 Cromwell St. so that they can either be crushed or returned for a deposit, providing the club some much-needed money.
Due to COVID-19, many of the Lions’ traditional methods of fundraising have been put on hold, Armstrong said, so the collection of cans and bottles has almost by default become one of the club’s biggest money-raisers over the past 18 months.
“I’ve actually been doing this for about eight years, but only with a few people I knew,” Armstrong said. “What we did was we collected the cans and we’d use the money to buy prizes for the Walk for Independence for the Visually Impaired.
”After that stopped I kept collecting the cans but started giving it to the Lions Club,” he continued. “(Since the pandemic began) you have to raise money, but you can’t get that any money from bingo fundraising because that’s all been shut down…we can’t get any money coming in.”
So far, the bottle and can collecting has been a success
“When I was doing it myself, in six months I had collected $600,” he said. “After we put an ad in the newspaper, we’ve collected $600 each month it’s been in. I’ve got over $3,000 in the account right now and we’ve already spent $2,000.”
Money raised goes directly back into the community, Armstrong said, including support for a variety of local charities, the purchase of eye glasses for those in need, camps for visually-impaired youth as well as maintaining and making improvements to Russell Street’s Lions Park.
“We have the park on Russell Street and we’ve now put in three benches, two picnic tables and we’ve got a third picnic table on the way, with one of them is accessible for people with disabilities,” he said. “We also support the Inn of the Good Shepherd, the Salvation Army, the hospice and the hospital – we support all of those charities and many more.”
Most donors aren’t businesses but individuals who want to make a positive difference in the community, Armstrong said.
Dropping off bottles is easy, he added. People can drop them off at the Cromwell Street location or call Armstrong at 519-337-1630.
“If they need them to be picked up, I can go get them,” Armstrong said. “We’re just trying to continue to support the community with these funds.”
While the club is anticipating holding a celebratory barbecue in Lions Park at some point this summer, they are still waiting for pandemic restrictions to be removed to allow them to do so, Armstrong added.
The Lions Club is also looking for new members – those interested are encouraged to call Armstrong for more information.