Maple Ridge parents collecting metal scraps

Students at Alouette elementary in Maple Ridge are spearheading a different sort of fundraiser this year

Olivia DiFant

Olivia DiFant

Say goodbye to bake sales and car washes. The days of  bottle drives may be over.

Students at Alouette elementary are spearheading a different sort of fundraiser this year.

This spring, students will be helping their parents raise money for school equipment and a new playground with a scrap metal drive.

“Schools do hot lunch programs and bottle drives and stuff like that, so we thought we’d be different,” says Carrie DiFant, a fundraising coordinator on the Alouette parent advisory committee.

Fellow coordinator Cheryl Blad got the idea after visiting her cousin in Colwood, located in the greater Victoria area, on the day of a scrap metal drive hosted by Sangster elementary.

“It was unbelievable what they had there,” exclaims Blad. “They must of had 50 bikes, and washing machines and barbecues.”

The drive was held during the first week of last October after the summer clean-up, says Blad.

“And when I found out how much they raised from it, it was a done deal,” she says.

The school raised $7,400.

So, Alouette elementary has partnered with CCON Steel Inc. in Abbotsford to raise funds for the Alouette PAC, which in turn will put money raised towards sound boards, computers, home reading materials, sports equipment and many of the extra things students need.

The parent group is also hoping to collect enough big ticket items to raise money to go towards a new playground, which can cost $50,000 to $70,000.

The metal drive will take place Saturday, March 31, from 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Alouette elementary. Prior to that, the school will by making pickups for donated materials.

Nothing is too big, too small or too rusty.

The PAC will accept barbecues, filing cabinets, bicycles, lawn mowers (gas and oil drained), household appliances, wheel rims, aluminum door and window frames, Christmas lights, freezers, fridges, stoves, washers, dryers, metal fencing and posts, plumbing valves, desk and office furniture, chains and springs, old nails and screws, metal or aluminum roofing and siding, as well as beer kegs and car radiators.

They will take anything as small as a beer cap to large pieces of farm machinery or an entire car.

They will even take the proverbial kitchen sink.

This is not the first fundraising initiative for CCON, which has helped the Make-A-Wish Foundation with a scrap car drive and previously raised money through a battery drive for a cancer patient.

But this is the first time it has partnered with an elementary school.

“It’s a thought I’ve have had for a long time,” says Greg Dahl, owner of CCON. “I’ve seen bottle drives and I’ve thought that’s a lot of work for little pay.”

He decided to create a program that would enable children to make some serious cash.

Depending on the market a catalytic converter can range anywhere between $7 to $200 and cars can range from $100 for a little Civic to $400 for something like a Bronco.

Cars are paid by weight, Dahl says.

“If [people] really want to help, throw a bunch of steel in the car or truck.”

He has since put kits together for fundraising groups to use that include flyers and posters that are printed off by CCON for free and a scratch pad to keep track of donors.

For the Alouette elementary fundraiser, two tow-trucks will be made available by CCON to provide towing free-of-charge from residential homes or businesses.

Bins to separate the different types of metals will also be provided by the company on the day of the drive and representatives will be on site to haul everything away.

Everything will be priced out the same as any regular customer and all of the money will go to the Alouette PAC.

So far, the metal working and autobody programs at Maple Ridge secondary, Samuel Robertson Technical and Westview secondary are on board with the fundraiser and the Alouette PAC has started handing out flyers to businesses.

Blad is enthusiastic about the unusual fundraiser.

“Go big,” she says.

“Next year it could be all elementary schools doing this.”

• To arrange for pickup or towing e-mail