Pop cans with a purpose

Published 10:16 am Sunday, February 10, 2013

Charles Van House, Shriners Oriental Band member, and Dennis Nelson, VFW Post 1216 commander, are collecting cans for Shriners Childrens Hospital. One of three trailers for collecting cans sits next to the VFW in Austin.

People would be hard-pressed to rival Charles Van House’s drive to recycle pop cans for a good cause. Sure, others do the same thing, but Van House is dedicated.

The local Shriners Oriental Band member who started collecting pop can tabs more than a year ago — and collected 21 8-gallon pails last year — has re-honed his focus.

“There’s something I can do better than this,” he thought to himself.

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Now, others are helping him do the work. Locals noticed Van House’s efforts and helped build three trailers that hold pop cans. The trailers, placed at Gymocha, the Austin VFW and SEMA Equipment in Mapleview, were all filled twice last year and hauled to the Twin Cities. The proceeds go toward Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis and help pay for custom wheelchairs for children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions. That tugs at Van House’s heart.

As of Thursday, the trailer at the VFW sat about one-quarter full. Within a few months, it will be set for another trip.

“Every penny goes directly to the Shriners Auxiliary,” Van House said.