Donate cans to help local kids

A fundraiser that kicks off this month well help benefit after school activities for local kids.

Iowa Kids University, formerly known as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, is an entirely self-funded program that provides character and social education and homework help to three Ottumwa schools and around 100 local kids. To fund the program, a fundraiser called Cans 4 Kids is beginning in January.

"It's a really great program, not only for the kids, but for the mentors, who really have fun with it as well," executive director Sue Huff said.

The fundraiser not only helps Iowa Kids University, but teaches kids and the community the importance of recycling. Several local businesses, including Fareway, Lady Fit and Legend's Italian Bar, have can collection boxes displayed, where people can drop off their used cans and pop bottles to be redeemed and recycled.

"In Ottumwa, around $2,500 a day is generated through pop bottles and redeemable cans and we would like to raise money and hopefully have around 100 boxes set up at local business to help raise this money," Ottumwa High School student Jimmie Doty said.

Doty is one of OHS's DECA members, a junior and senior class that teaches marketing principles. Helping out with Cans 4 Kids is one of their projects.

"Being a brand new program, we suffer kind of an identity crisis, people don't know what we're about," DECA teacher Mike Cardin said. "So my kids have had an opportunity to combine learning about marketing with a real life program that actually needs help getting started."

Tenco has also partnered with Iowa Kids University, so anyone looking to donate cans or bottles can bring them either to a participating business, or straight to Tenco, who will give the proceeds to IKU.

People looking to donate, or businesses looking to get involved with the program can visit or call Sue Huff at 641-680-2013.