Bronco’s ‘Can Crew’ collections to benefit many groups

See how funds from a deposit-return bottles and cans is doing good in outer East Portland. Here’s where to bring yours, on March 6 …

At Parkrose Middle School, volunteers sort through deposit-return cans and bottles for redemption on the first Saturday of each month.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Continuing the fundraising effort started decades ago by Parkrose volunteer Dave “Can Man” Luce, volunteers are still collecting deposit-return bottles and cans – sorting them and redeeming them to help fund groups affiliated with the Parkrose School District.

“Even during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the bottle and can drive has been going very well,” said its organizer since 2017, Patty Meighen.

“We shut it down in March, 2020, for several months – and reopened it in August, putting in place safety protocols. Even in this outdoor setting, those safety practices included: reducing the number of volunteers working to ten, implementing social distancing, and requiring face masks and gloves,” Meighen told East Portland News.

Being careful to stay socially-distanced, members of the Parkrose High School Tri-M Music Society take a short break from their volunteer efforts to gather for a group photo.

Beyond “directing” her students, Parkrose High’s Tri-M Music Society adviser, Lesley Bossert, steps up to help sort cans for recycling.

When we checked on the drive at their February 6 Saturday collection – it turned out to be their biggest February drive to date! – the Parkrose High School volunteers from the Tri-M Music Society, under the direction of the school’s retired Choral Instructor Lesley Bossert, were hard at work.

They, like all student group volunteers, earn $500 for their efforts.

“Although I’ve retired from teaching, I’m still active with the Oregon Tri-M Music Society. By the way, two years ago, we were the second-place national club of the year!” Bossert remarked with pride.

Stowing a bumper crop of bottles and cans in the trailer are organizers Greg Meighen and Patty Meighen.

A preferred alternative to the ‘Bottle Drop’
Many of their contributors have told them that they prefer bringing their deposit-return bottles and cans to the monthly collection, rather than standing in long lines on sticky floors at the nearby BottleDrop Center, because they know the funds support the kids, Meighen told us.

“When schools reopen, we anticipate there will be a lot of need for extra support for clubs and activities,” Meighen said. “Our Parent-Teacher Organization will be able to help support the various student groups, thanks to these funds; many of the student groups use the money they earn to provide a scholarship for a graduating senior,” she added.

The “Pop Can Drive” was started some 20+ years ago by a group of parents to raise funds for the Parkrose High Senior All-Night Party, Meighen recalled. “Over the years, the focus has broadened to include college scholarship and grants to support various student clubs and activities.”

Help out Parkrose youth by taking your deposit-return bottles and cans to their monthly drive.

Home and business pick up available

While volunteers gather on the first Saturday of each month all year, including the summer months, the volunteers continue to place free plastic barrels to collect deposit-return containers in homes and business – and pick up the bottles and cans monthly.

“We welcome community volunteers who like to get involved for a couple hours,” Meighen invited. If you are interested in volunteering, reach out to Patty at

So, pack up your deposit-return cans and bottles, and stop by Parkrose Middle School from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 6. This month, you’ll be assisted by students with the Parkrose High School Theater group.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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