Submitted by Stefan L. Sumsky, Assumption School, on 2012-08-04.
Tony Aufiero, Sister Joan Marie, SCMC and Thomas Fiengo.
Community involvement combines with environmental activism to make a real difference at Assumption School in Manchester. On the fourth, Saturday of every month, Sister Joan Marie Crapps, SCMC and a team of student and parent volunteers collect bottles and cans to take to a local recycling center. Local parishioners and involved citizens collect several hundred dollars in cans and bottles each month to help fund school activities.
Sister Joan Marie, a second grade teacher at Assumption, has been running a bottle drive much like this one for over 30 years. She began running the bottle drive at Holy Family Mother House in Baltic, shortly after Connecticut enacted its container deposit laws in 1978. She’s very modest about her long-standing program. “I saw a need and I filled it,” she humbly remarked when pressed. When Sister transferred to Assumption 5 years ago, she was eager to bring the bottle drive with her to her new home.
She is aided in her efforts by a dedicated team of volunteers. Together, they complete a variety of tasks, from sorting bottles and cans to placing signs advertising the event around the area. Tony Aufiero, father of a 2nd and 5th grader at Assumption, generously donates his time and energy to transport the numerous recyclables to a local processing center. Assisting with the drive just comes to Tony. “I’m not sure how I got started with Sister, but I really enjoy helping out,” he said. Plans are in the works to give students the chance to complete their community service hours by helping out at the drive as well. “We need to get more people involved,” Sister Joan Marie said.
The volunteers aren’t the only ones helping with Sister’s bottle drive. Throughout the three hour drive, donations are dropped off by people both young and old. One couple with a station wagon full of recyclables confessed that they don’t use many bottles themselves, but go “dumpster diving” to help both the school and the environment.
The proceeds from the bottle drive are put to good use by Assumption school, as well. The majority of the funds raised goes in the (scholarship fund) to help students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits of a Catholic school education. This year $2000 were raised for the scholarship fund. The remaining money is used to buy myriad essential school supplies, ranging from bibles and books about Saints to new headphones and computer programs.
Students and faculty at Assumption Middle School in Manchester are doing their part to keep their town green with a bottle drive. And they’re always looking for more volunteers. “We need to get more people involved,” Sister Joan Marie said. If you’re interested in helping out, the drives resume on the fourth Saturday of August.