The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.” – Elie Wiesel
My birthday just came along and I, being the cheap teenager I was, only accepted cash. My brother, about 9 years old at the time, was extremely jealous at my sudden wealth. He cried and begged my parents to give him some pocket cash, but to no avail. After hours of constant begging, my mother gave him an idea: Why not collect soda cans and plastic bottles and raise some pocket money? With enough hard work, he could make himself a small fortune. He was extremely excited about the idea and started gathering all the cans he could. It was at this time I got the opportunity to take part in my school’s (Bellarmine College Preparatory) Solidarity Sleepout. This event simulates the life of a homeless person for forty of us teenagers by having us fast for most of the day and spend a night out, in the cold California winter, with just a sleeping bag for comfort. What started as a fun exercise changed my whole life and led to the creation of this not-for-profit organization called Next Supper. I came home as a changed person, and convinced my brother to use recylce the cans and bottles and use the cash for providing winter supplies to the homeless people in the bay area. Although my brother was not happy at first, he slowly gave in to the idea. Fast forward several months – today he is extremely happy and proud of this project.
Summer 2012 – We started collecting all of our soda cans and water bottles and spending hours upon hours in the garage crushing them. My saint-like self, even offered to drink extra sodas so that we could collect more cans. My mother, however, denied because she oddly saw some ulterior motives in my schemes. But nevertheless, we carried on, not getting too many cans. So then started our first expansion – We went to our relatives, friends, neighbors and church members asking them for all of their cans. My dad started telling his few friends in his office and they started to support us. Instead of throwing them away, why not give them to us? That way, your unwanted trash becomes priceless treasure for the poor!
Sept 2012 - We collected just enough cans to make a small transformation of cans to cash. Driving over to our nearest recycling center, we immediately unloaded our boxes of cans and got a whopping $21.44! The same happened on Halloween, when we got $13.07. We were amazed! We ran over to the supermarket and bought some food, and immediately gave it to a homeless man we passed every day on the way to school. The smile and happiness we saw in his face was priceless, that encouraged us even more and was worth the effort.
If we could do this much with a few boxes of cans, imagine what we could do with hundreds of boxes of cans! And that is what we ask of you. All of your unwanted, useless cans, we ask that you give them to us. The more cans we have, the more food we can give to the needy.
Don’t throw the cans in the trash! Throw them in our hands!!
While we are extremely happy to do the work, we want to thank you for the support you are going to offer us. At the same time, we want to thank our parents for their constant encouragement and support , and of course for driving us to the recycling center, then to gather items for the homeless and actually taking us to the real homeless person to give the items.
Together we can do this, help us please!