Sunday, October 2, 2011

It is getting cold outside

Almost a month has passed since my last post.  In that months time, I finished recycling a motor home, gave away my daughter in marriage and started getting ready for winter both in the garage and outside in the yard.  In our neck of the woods, it can snow in October, but is certain to snow in November.   The temperatures drop into the 20's and sometimes into the teens, making it more difficult to get around to make the metal pick ups and to distribute the paper rolls that are donated to me on a weekly basis.

I  work throughout the year with The Center for the Homeless, Hope Ministries and families that are food insecure and hungry.  The cold and snow have more devastating effects on those that have housing, transportation and food challenges.   When I come home from work, the furnace is working hard to keep me and my family warm and the refrigerator is working equally hard to keep our food cold.  In other words, I am blessed in ways that 20% of the Michiana population are not.  Poverty does not take a holiday or even a day off and for that reason, I continue to look for new customers that have metal of any size or weight.

Last month one of our neighbors sold their house and in the process of moving, came across an old pool cover that would not be needed by the new owners.  I have trouble saying no to a donation, so I drug it across the street and looked for an opportunity to give it to someone that could put it to good use.  That opportunity presented itself today in a big way.   Storms have passed through our neighborhood, blowing over trees, flooding creeks and ripping off gutters.   One of our neighbors has seen three trees uprooted in the past 9 months and because he burns for heat in the winter has all of the wood cut and split.  When I stopped by to offer him the pool cover, he ended up offering me an opportunity to stop by his business to look at scrap metal he is considering donating.  He also showed me a bike that needed a new seat and a new set of brake cables, so I offered him a bike that had been given to me that he could use for spare parts. 

Later that day, I was mowing the lawn when 3 other neighbors brought by some metal for me to recycle.

Earlier in the post I mentioned that our daughter got married recently.  The cottage where we stayed had a full trailer load of gas grills, broken tables and chairs, etc. that they donated.  There is another smaller load to be picked up.

I am on target to meeting my annual goal of feeding 100 families, clothing 200 children and education 400 students with money made from the metal that I recycle and the paper that I distribute.

If you are in the Michiana area and would like to make a metal donation or set up a paper exchange clothing drive, or have me speak to your group; please let me know.

I will try not to stay away as long next time.




Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another busy week of saving the planet

A lot has happened since the last blog post.  All indications are that people are thinking about Donation Station when they have scrap metal that they do not want to throw in their curbside bin and would like to donate to a worthy cause.  Water heaters, die frames, kitchen ranges, futon frames, aluminum cans and cell phones were donated by friends at work, friends from church, business partners and groups that I fund raise for that are doing good work of their own in our community.

I look forward to the calls that come in during the day asking me to stop by to pick up a collection of "whatever" the  caller has decided to divert, donate and reduce their carbon footprint all at the same time.  In a couple of weeks, schools will be back in session and a portion of the calls will be for the free paper that I get from a local printer and donate to schools, day cares and churches.  For the first time this summer, I stockpiled about 150 rolls, not certain how bright of an idea that would be, but it turns out, that new "takers" came along and after 75 rolls to one person, 45 rolls to Habitat Restore and another 4 dozen rolls to our downtown library, the garage is cleared and the decision payed off.

If you are so inclined, please pray for me.  For guidance, perseverance, strength, courage and humility.  So much more can be done to help bring hope and faith to those in need of a guiding light, and I could use your prayers to help find those individuals and groups that could benefit from what Donation Station is doing with the treasures and gifts that I receive from the Michiana community.

The Donation Station bills get paid by scrap metal recycling proceeds, so keep me in mind the next time you have an appliance, automobile, lawn and garden equipment or just a bag of aluminum cans that you would like to donate.  For things like automobiles, trailers, farm equipment, commercial stamping or cutoffs; it is possible for me to provide you with a "gift in kind" letter for your donation that can be used as a write off on your itemized tax return.   Your large scrap metal items would still be turned into cash, but the proceeds would be donated to a non profit organization like a food panty or homeless center - who will in turn provide you with the letter.

I will leave you with this note.  Give this some thought.  I saw a bumper sticker this week that read "Live Simply, so that someone can Simply Live".  Let me know if that strikes a nerve in you like it did me.

Please post this on your blog or facebook page.  If you are looking for a guest speaker at your next meeting, I am interested in talking to you.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

My supermarket customer

There is more than one way for a supermarket to feed a hungry child.  The local supermarket that donates metal of all kinds to me, just came up big.  I have been making free pick ups at the area stores on a daily basis since last Wednesday.   There are 21 stores in the chain, and I finished up this afternoon with a pick up in Plymouth.  In the last 10 days I have been from Elkhart to St. Joe Michigan and all over South Bend and Mishawaka, even went to Napannee last night to collect a donation from that store.

Other than a couple of trailers that a local company donated to me in 2008, this is the single biggest donation that I have received since I started in 2006.

The Eco Fest booth that I set up last month has paid off as well.  I received a call from a church that wants me to fund raise for their prison ministry for women.  They promote the fund raiser and call me with details for a pick up.  Once the pick up is made and cashed out, the money goes to their ministry.  I am doing that for my son's band booster club and just offered to do the same for the food pantry at our church.

At the end of this month, the first "On a Roll - Paper Exchange clothing drive will be held at a local day care.  In exchange for gently used children's clothing, the parents of the day care will receive a free roll of white paper for use at home.  I receive 60 rolls a week from a local printer and it dawned on me about 2 months ago that it could be put to good use this way.  Another area day care is having a food drive and another is having a school supply drive and when the schools reopen, I am going to introduce the program to them as a service learning opportunity.

These opportunities to serve others less fortunate helps me appreciate my blessings and keeps me from sitting around making a big deal about trivial things going on in my life.

If any of the programs that I offer are appealing to you or if you would like to hire me to speak at your next meeting, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

My first "do you take" from previous blogs

I am excited!  Tomorrow I am going to look at some scrap metal that a blogger from White Pigeon is willing to donate.  I need to look at the size of the job to assess how long it will take and what equipment is needed so that I can schedule the time to do the job efficiently and safe.

The supermarket customer that has been donating to me going on 4 years now has 21 stores and this week 3 of them called to request pick up of various metal items.   I am thankful that the store managers are thinking of me when they have scrap metal.  In the fall when it is time to buy Thanksgiving turkey certificates, I buy them from the same supermarket.  It seems to be working real well for everybody.

My wife and I went to grab a bite to eat and I ran into the person that gave me my first opportunity to serve.  About 6 years ago, I offered to organize and produce a bike rodeo for the children's ministry at our church.  Helmet fitting, rules of the road, bike inspection kind of stuff.  I felt right at home getting volunteers, asking businesses to donate door prizes and seeing all of the kids learn safe biking tips.

This week, I offered to set up another bike rodeo for the school corporation that my three children attend (ed) for next spring as part of a three program package.  The other two parts are a presentation to parents of newly licensed (teenage) drivers.  Eight teenagers die a day, over 3,000 a year from automobile accidents.  I taught drivers education for 10 years and have now helped my children through "the rite of passage", so it is time to share what I have learned and try to help other parents become more involved in keeping their teen drivers safe.

I am looking for blogger number 2 who has scrap metal that they want to donate, so that I can continue to feed, clothe and educate children in the Michiana area.

Please become a follower and tell others about what Donation Station is doing to assist people that are in need of assistance.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Two More Tons!

I had a busy week of "scrapping". This morning my Dad and I loaded 3,000 lbs of tin from a customer in Bristol. It took us 2 hours to load and the crane at the scrap yard 10 minutes to unload. The crane operator asked if we loaded it by hand, and made us feel good by saying that is a lot of work. We are pretty used to it by now, but we still get sore in our legs and arms that lasts for a few days. There was more to pick up than I thought, so I will have to go back on Tuesday with a smaller trailer to clean out the rest. Thanks to the experience I got loading and unloading semi loads full of tires and wheels, I can pack the metal on the trailer pretty tight and with little empty space. That is important with the price of gas these days and the price for repairs when one of my trucks or trailers goes down.

On the way home, we stopped at a friend's farm to pick up some fencing and a couple of odds and ends that he had told me about after church a few Sunday's ago. Between church friends, coworkers and a few businesses that generate scrap, it is not hard to get to 40 ton in a year's time.

I am waiting an another friend from church who is stopping by to look at an axle off a trailer that a local business gave me. We scrapped out the frame and kept the tandem axle. One axle was given to a friend from work who does welding for me and the other one just sold. I like to sell or donate items that can be reused, that way new products and virgin steel is not required to be made. That is whole other topic that can be explored, talking about limited resources and sustainable living.

A tractor that was given to me a couple of years ago is in need of repair, so I am going to sign off and get to loading up the tractor so that I can take it by a coworkers house to see if we can get it running.

Please do let me know if you live in the Michiana area and would like to donate scrap metal. Any size, shape or weight is accepted - and the pick up is free. You can then say you helped Donation Station feed, clothe and educate the youth of our community.

While I was outside selling the axle, the neighbor across the street came by to offer me a washer and television. The washer leaks and the TV does not work, so the washer becomes scrap metal and the TV will makes its way to Goodwill along with another TV that is sitting our garage. Goodwill is a great place to take electronics and they make good use the items to fund their employment training programs.

Finally, if you need a guest speaker for your next meeting; someone who can inspire and empower your group to live more sustainably - you have my "number".

If you like what you are reading please become a follower and let others know how you found me.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

turning metal into meals

Back in 2006 when I did my first recycling job (1200 lbs of lead) and donated the proceeds to a local youth group that was headed out on a musical mission tour, it was not clear to me where all of the metal was going to come from or just how much time, energy and equipment it would require to continue "scrapping". Five years later, most of the questions have been answered and the number of customers is growing (over 200 and counting). I have a core group of customers, some of them businesses and the rest individuals. Both groups are important to maintaining the 40 tons that I have been averaging over the past couple of years.

Recycling 40 tons of metal and 3,000 rolls of paper takes about 15 hours a week and allows me to help feed 40 families a warm Thanksgiving meal and clothe nearly 100 children, along with providing reduce, reuse and recycling field trips to another 100 students a year.

There is only one problem. I don't feel like I am making enough of a difference, considering how much time I spend working with the homeless population and the how much poverty the current economy is creating. I am checking out all of the modern networking opportunities to see if there are like minded individuals and businesses out there that I have not met in the first five years of scrapping that would like to donate anything metal.

I have the equipment to move any item regardless of the size or weight. Vehicles are by far the best revenue producing item, but aluminum cans pay exceptionally well also. Copper and brass are great revenue producers, but I have never turned down a coffee can full of nails either.

If you live in St. Joe, Elkhart or LaPorte County Indiana or Southwest Michigan and would like to add your name to the growing list of businesses and individuals who are helping me feed, clothe and educate children and families in Michiana - I am excited to hear from you.