LETHBRIDGE – It was three years ago when Neil Hrabowy saw a man picking up bottles outside of a coffee shop.
“Some lady was giving him a real hard time about collecting bottles, and I ended up writing my address on my business card just to let him know I have a few bags of bottles.”
Once a month the man comes to Hrabowy’s home in Coaldale to collect bottles. Hrabowy says the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been so grateful.
“Every time he comes out, always thanks me, offers to do yard work. Anything he can.” he says.
“Whether it be cutting grass, raking leaves, shovelling snow, he’ll offer to do it. Haven’t taken him up on anything like that, but he still offers.”
Recently Hrabowy saw a few posts on a local Facebook page with people complaining about someone stealing their recycling, which led Hrabowy to speak about his experience.
“I just wanted to let people know there is another side to life and if you do see someone collecting bottles, you know their working. That’s what they do to survive and that’s their lifestyle. And if they aren’t bothering you, support them.”
Ken Kissick is with Streets Alive Mission. He says that bottle picking is a common source of income for those that are homeless.
“Bottle picking is a real secondary source of income. In some cases a first source of income,” he says.
“A lot of people actually make 50 or 60 dollars a day.”
Hrabowy says helping someone out in such a simple way is well worth the trouble.
“We live in a city with a very strong economy and country with a very strong economy, so it would be nice to see everybody benefit from it.”
If you would like to donate your bottles, the Streets Alive Mission always accepts donations. Please visit their website at streetsalive.ca.