Lewiston man collects $17,000 in cans for charity

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB)- If Angelo Sarkees had a nickel for every can and bottle he’s picked up in the last couple years, he’d have $17,000. But he doesn’t have it because he’s donated every penny to charity.

“My ultimate goal is $100,000. Whether I make that or not , but I’ll get to $50,000. I’m sure I’ll get to $50,000,” said the 68-year-old retiree from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

A few summers ago, he started collecting cans at the Lewiston Jazz Festival and realized how lucrative it can be. Now he has a network of offices and restaurants that save their cans for him, like Favorite Pizzeria in Lewiston, where Olivia Michaels is the manager.

“Ang just comes in almost every day, takes our cans. We either save them over in the dining room when the garbage is filled or we save them in the basement for him,” Michaels said.

“People call me up or drop them off at my house or I go get it at their house and it’s just relatives and friends,” said Sarkees, who also collects scrap metal for charity.

He brings the cans and bottles straight to a Porter Empty return Center in Ransomville where owner Doug Adamson gives him ten percent extra in cash.

“It’s absolutely sinful the money that can be raised from cans, it’s just unbelievable,” Adamson said.

Nickels become dollars. He handed handed over five hundred dollars on Tuesday afternoon to the new Care & Share Food Pantry in Ransomville, where Board member George Brown also knows how to stretch a dollar.

“It’s really awesome. Every little bit that we get is great for purchasing food through the Food Bank of Western New York, we can purchase it at fourteen cents a pound so it goes a long way,” Brown said.

Sarkees was eager to help spread the word about doing good in the community.

“Maybe people will think about what they can do to help out their food pantries and help out the less fortunate, this time of year especially. Send a check, volunteer. Instead of throwing it in the garbage, think about how you can help the food pantries in your area.”

If you’d like to help, Sarkees can be reached at 716-949-6186, or through email at sarkeesa@yahoo.com.

To find out more ways to help see the Community Missions of Niagara website.

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