Gus, 84, was surprised when he discovered numerous bags of empty cans and bottles on his driveway on Boxing Day morning.
He had just returned from a hospital stay a few hours earlier and wasn’t sure why the items were being left there. As the day wore on, Gus became overwhelmed with the generosity of local citizens.
Hundreds of bags and boxes of recyclables had been deposited at Gus’s home on Huntingdon Road for him to cash in.
The campaign was organized as a surprise by Menno Koehoorn, who has known Gus for about 13 years.
The senior has been a fixture in south Abbotsford neighbourhoods, where he has ridden his bicycle, collecting cans and bottles to help supplement his pensioner’s income.
Gus recently became ill and is no longer able to complete the task.
But Koehoorn wanted to give something back to Gus.
“He’s a really genuine guy. Lots of people love him,” Koehoorn said.
He posted his bottle drive idea on his Facebook page, and an article ran in the Abbotsford News, asking for donations of bottles and cans to be dropped off on Gus’s driveway on Boxing Day.
Koehoorn said the response has been amazing. Bags and boxes of items were dropped off all day on Dec. 26 and continue to arrive today.
He said Gus was touched by the gesture, but, as the pile of donations grew, he became overwhelmed with the thought of how to transport and sort the bottles and cans.
Regional Recycling has volunteered to pick up all the items and sort them for Gus.
In addition to the recyclables being dropped off, Gus received dinner invitations, home-cooked food, gifts baskets and grocery store gift cards.
Koehoorn said many of the gifts brought tears to Gus’s eyes.
“It’s quite amazing,” Koehoorn said of the response to the campaign.
(Photo below: This panoramic of donations for Gus shows the number of items that had come in by 3:30 p.m. on Boxing Day. The pile has since grown much larger.)