Cans for Kids marks 4 years with special donation

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore., – Cans for Kids, a program of Illinois Valley Community Development Organization (IVCanDO), is celebrating its 4th anniversary July 31. In the spirit of paying it forward for the success of the program, IVCanDO donated $1,000 of excess funds to help local youth attend a state little league championship.
With the help of IVCanDO, the team of local 6th and 7th graders traveled to Turner, Ore., for the Little League 50/70 Oregon State Championship. The money funded uniforms, tournament fees, and travel expenses. “It was a great experience and we really appreciate IVCanDO’s support of us,” reported Amy Lapora who is a volunteer and parent with the team.
Illinois Valley residents might recognize Cans for Kids by its colorful storage container behind Chevron in Cave Junction. Every Saturday, from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m., volunteers from various youth-focused organizations collect donations of deposit cans and bottles.
This Saturday, July 30, the program will be raising money for the Cave Junction Farmers’ Market Cultivate Kids program.
Since July 31, 2018, Cans for Kids has raised $117,280 for youth programs in the Illinois Valley. $21,000 has been raised so far this year alone. The money goes to a wide variety of organizations, including programs at local schools, such as the Lorna Byrne Middle School wrestling and football teams and the Illinois Valley High School Future Farmers of America and 4-H clubs. Funds have also been raised for the IV YEA Toy Drive, the IVHS Safe and Sober Grad Night. Other independent organizations that participate include the Dome School, Art & Science Kids, Rusk Ranch Nature Center, and the IVFD Fire Explorers.
Shelbie Mason, who is the advisor for the Illinois Valley High School FFA program and volunteer for the local 4-H program, said that not only has the Cans for Kids helped pay for a four-day trip for her students to the Oregon FFA Convention in Redmond, Ore., as well as the costs of raising animals in 4-H, but that the program has been an opportunity for her students to engage with the public at the donation station.
“For me, it’s not as much about the money, it’s about the students getting out of their comfort zone and educating the community about what FFA is,” Mason said.
Cans for Kids has become a reliable fundraising effort for the youth programs and projects in our Valley. Frequent volunteer, Kaci Elder noted, “Nonprofits are known for running on shoestring budgets, but this gets amplified in low-income rural communities like ours. Cans for Kids has been a lifeline for three schools where I hang my heart. We have been able to provide scholarships for elementary-age kids to engage with their local ecosystems intellectually, creatively, and experientially (SUN School at Rusk Ranch Nature Center); keep the doors open during the precarious peak of Covid (the Dome School); and pay adolescent artists a living wage for their work (Kalmiopsis Community Arts High School). Who knew an empty soda bottle could mean so much?”
Leaders of youth programs or projects can contact IVCanDO about participating in the Cans for Kids program at info@ivcdo.org or 541-592-4440. The 2022 schedule is almost full. We will begin scheduling 2023 dates at the donation station Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022 at 10 a.m.