Local senior hoping to pass on charity spirit
Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 06:00 am
When local senior Dave Loewen decided he needed to get more exercise in 2010 he turned his walks along the ditches into a charity effort. He began collecting discarded cans and bottles he found along his route and then donating the refund to a variety of charities.
“My friends were all golfers and getting their exercise on the golf course,” Loewen said.
“I’m no golfer but I wanted the exercise so I started walking the ditches.”
He said the idea really took off when a chance meeting with an area-resident along the highway led to a large bottle donation.
“I was going down Eight Avenue to Balzac (in my car) and I happened to see some bottles. As I was picking up the bottles a woman stopped and asked me what I was doing.”
After Loewen explained why he was collecting the bottles, the passerby invited him to her home to collect four big bags worth of bottles and cans.
“It just snowballed from there,” he said of collecting bottles from community members.
He was even given a van from a supporter in 2010, which enabled him to widen his efforts and offer community members free bottle pick up from their home.
Since 2010, Loewen has collected enough cans and bottles to donate a total of more than $35,000 to a variety of charities including the Airdrie Food Bank, The Mustard Seed, Samaritans Purse, World Vision and many more.
“I have always given to church and things but I could have never given what I have given without the (bottle and can) donations,” he said.
Now, as Loewen approaches 90 years old, he finds the task of bringing the bottles into the depot and lifting them to be counted and sorted more difficult.
“I’ve slowed down this year and I haven’t done nearly as much,” he said.
“I am beginning to find it hard at my age.”
Loewen is looking for someone to take over his bottle and can collection for charity and is even willing to throw in the van to help the new person collect many more bags of bottles and cans.
He said he tries to go collect recyclables twice a week but would make sure he got out at least twice a month. He said the entire process from picking up the bottles to delivering them to the depot only took a few hours each time.
Over the years, Loewen has amassed a list of about 100 supporters who would donate to him and who he would call the night before to let them know he would be coming.
“I’d say about 50 per cent of them are very faithful (with donations), the rest are off and on,” he said. “I appreciated all the good response I had from people.”
He said though he will look for other ways to continue to donate to charities, he has to give up the bottle collection.
“If anybody wants to do what I’ve been doing… there are all kinds of garbage and bottles and stuff that can raise funds like this,” Loewen said.
He said he has had several inquiries from residents who are interested in taking over from him but is still deciding on who will be the right fit.
He added he will continue to collect cans and bottles over the summer but will call it quits in the fall.
Those interested in taking over Loewen’s cause can contact him at 403-945-1806 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org