May 21, 2019 5:08 pm

Beer Stores, union to collect empties across Ontario in fight to end blood cancer

Staff and volunteers help out at a past annual bottle drive, held by The Beer Store and its union.

Courtesy @Return4Leukemia/Facebook

This Saturday, The Beer Store and its union will host its 14th annual bottle drive at its over 450 locations across Ontario, supporting the fight to end blood cancers.

The proceeds collected from the bottle drive will go toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, which focuses on research, patient support and advocacy.

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“We will have volunteers outside of our stores asking people if they would like to donate any portion of their empty returns,” said Ted Moroz, president of The Beer Store. “All of the money stays in Canada and goes to research grants for a lot of Canadian doctors and scientists.”

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, there are about 137 types of blood cancers and related disorders.

In 2016, it was reported that 138,100 people in Canada were living with or were in remission from various types of blood cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. That same year, it was reported that the number of Canadians living with or in remission from blood cancer increased by 25 per cent from 2014.

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The Beer Store is accepting all beer bottles and cans, wine and spirit bottles for the drive to support blood cancer research.

Beer bottles and cans are worth 10 cents, and most wine and spirit bottles are worth 20 cents.

“We’re happy to accept absolutely any amount that people would be willing to give us,” Moroz said. “We know that our customers are extremely generous and we’re very happy to receive whatever they’re willing to share with us.”

According to Moroz, The Beer Store and its union — United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 12R24 — raised about $1.8 million through the bottle drive to support the fight to end blood cancer in 2018.

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Since the bottle drive began in 2005, The Beer Store and its union have raised over $16 million.

At many locations, Moroz added, there will be bakes sales or barbecues, and the proceeds from there will also go to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

“The weekend after the May long weekend is always the time we choose to have this bottle drive every year,” Moroz said. “The thinking is that that’s when people will be bringing back their empties.”

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While volunteers will be campaigning for donations outside Ontario Beer Store locations, people are able to donate their empties or cash to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada at stores until the end of the month.

“Fourteen years ago when we started doing these bottle drives, childhood leukemia survival rates were about 85 per cent in Canada. Today, they’re over 92 per cent,” Moroz said. “We definitely want to raise as much money as we can to make that 100 per cent.”

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