Monday morning, volunteers with Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity processed donations of aluminum cans from this year's Can Jam recycling event. Even though the work of processing the cans wasn't glamorous, the excitement of a record response more than made up for that with the volunteers.
Habitat's Can-Do team, and other volunteers, processed 3492 lbs of cans or 122,220 cans which were donated during Can Jam week. The Can Jam, which involves area elementary students in a celebration of Earth Day is part of Habitat's year-long aluminum can recycling program. This was the fifth year for the Can Jam.
In 2008, the Can Jam brought in just over 2800 lbs of cans. Before Monday, the record for the Can Jam was 2924 lbs, which was collected in 2007.
"We were a little discouraged with the donation amounts the first part of last week," said Dana Jelinek, with Habitat for Humanity, "but donations really picked up on Thursday and Friday."
White Farms Trucking provided a semi-trailer where all can donations from schools conducting drives, and the general public, could be gathered. The goal was to fill the trailer, which is what happened. The trailer actually held more cans than anticipated, a pleasant surprise to the volunteers helping with the processing.
"The recycling program has been a blessing to us and has enabled us to do so much in the community", added Jelinek, "and the Can Jam is a fun way to involve kids."
Throughout the year, Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity recycles aluminum cans to help with construction costs on their area homes. Since starting with the Cans for Habitat program in July 2001, over $450,000 has been raised in the Grand Island area and 16 homes built thanks, wholly or in part, to the Cans for Habitat program.
Jelinek commented that more volunteers are needed to help with this program, "They are an exceptional group of people that pick up cans throughout the year, but we sure could use more."
To learn more about Can for Habitat, or Habitat for Humanity in general, contact Jelinek at 308-385-5510.