Community Bottle Drive Donations Top $50K

Photo Karen Graham.
Michelle Horner sorts through another donation of returnable cans and bottles, making room for Millbrook Farm and Pet Supply customers and the next donation of empties that will soon arrive at the shop. The constant flow of empties keeps staff busy in all kinds of weather, and has generated a remarkable contributions to local service organizations and individuals since it began at the beginning of the pandemic. Well done, everyone!

It started during COVID, when like most retailers, Millbrook Farm Supply and Pet Supply couldn’t open its doors for business.

Rather than have empty beer and liquor containers pile up in their garage/basements or laundry rooms, some customers decided to forgo the refund and leave the empties in the parking lot of Millbrook Farm and Pet Supply on Tupper Street, which is the local location for bottle returns.  As the piles of empties grew, staff decided to donate the uncollected bottle return revenue to local organizations.  Customers continued to drop off their empties in the parking lot even after doors were opened for business, so store owner Angela and staff Michelle and Emily organized some skids as a drop-off landing for returns and set up some bins to keep the parking area organized.  At the peak of Covid restrictions, staff even made arrangements to pick up local donations, but none of them imagined how this initiative would evolve.

Since May 2020, the business has collected refunds topping $51,920.  As the pandemic restrictions eased, the pace of donations slowed a bit, but the donated returns still generated $14,350 in 2022. Each month, staff designate a local beneficiary for the funds.  Recipients include the Mount Pleasant Women’s Institute, Five Counties Children’s Centre, North Cavan Public School, the New Canadians’ Centre, Millbrook and Cavan Historical Society, Millbrook Community Care, the Millbrook Legion, and Kawartha Food Share. Donations have also been directed to individuals, including three local teens dealing with cancer diagnoses.

As Michelle explains, even now, the flow of donations is constant.  Twenty minutes after sorting and organizing the drop off area, there is usually a new batch of donations to address.   Staff have to keep up to ensure that there is easy access to the store and also room for the next donation.

The mission continues this month, with January donations to be directed to Kawartha Food Share.

Millbrook Farm and Pet Supply owner Angela Lloyd and staff extend a heartfelt thanks to the donors whose generous contributions have been directed to many great causes supporting members of our community.

That’s the power of a community!  KG

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