Perry Optimist Club collects cans for youth scholarships

Allison Ullmann Staff
Optimist Club members, from left, Merrilee Bales, Courtney Straker and Lisa Widick pose for a photo in front of the Optimist Club can collection site on the side of the Bluejay Market. PHOTO BY ALLISON ULLMANN/THE PERRY CHIEF

Pop cans and beer bottles are helping to pay for scholarships for Perry High School students.

The cans are being collected by the Perry Optimist Club. President Jenny Eklund said the project started a number of years ago. A can collection site was located at Kans-R-Us.

The collection site was then moved to Bluejay Market. Eklund said the site has been located at Bluejay Market for the past couple years. The collection site is located on the east side of the building.

Eklund added that the Optimist Club collects around $40 to $50 a month through the can project.

“Because we’re a small organization and we don’t do big fundraisers, this sure does help us with the scholarships for the kids,” Eklund said. “If you get $50 for 12 months, that’s a couple scholarships.”

The Optimist Club hands out two, three or four scholarships each year to Perry High School students. The number of scholarships, Eklund said, depends on amount raised through fundraisers.

Other funds are raised through the Optimist Club’s partnership with the Lion’s Club for the flag program. The club also raises funds through the Iowa Cubs concession stand once a year.

Eklund said those two projects, plus the can project, are the big fundraisers for the Optimist Club. That isn’t to say the club members aren’t involved throughout the community.

The Optimist Club members also volunteer with the school district, elderly and throughout the Perry area.

“We do a lot in the community. We can always see an Optimist member tagged in something,” Eklund said.

One way the Optimist Club is involved in the community is through the can collection project.

Eklund added that the club is experiencing a recent problem with the project. She started noticing people stealing from the can collection site in March or April.

“I just want people to understand that this is the way we fundraise for the kids,” Eklund said. “That sure isn’t very nice for them to be taking those cans. It’s affecting the kids.”