Dainfern children collect thousands of bottle tops for the less fortunate

Brayley Penny, Jesalyn Johnson and Bryce Penny collected five rubbish bags full of bottle tops in just a few months.

They may just be children, but three Dainfern youngsters recently showed more compassion and motivation to help others than some people show their entire lives.

Bryce (6), and Brayley Penny (8) and their friend Jesalyn Johnson (7) took the time and effort to collect thousands of bottle tops in a record three months in order to provide a disadvantaged child, their own age, with a wheelchair.

“The kids have collected so many [bottle caps] in three months!” explained Kerry McKenzie, mother to Bryce and Brayley. “They managed to fill five dustbin bags, plus an additional box, with bottle caps in the short time.”

Jesalyn Johnson, Brayley Penny, Bonile (who will be given a new wheelchair) and Bryce Penny at the Lisito school to hand over their donation.

According to McKenzie, the children were first inspired to start collecting last year December, when one of Penny’s cousins, who is in a wheelchair, told them about the ‘Tops and Tags’ initiative, which is run by the Sweetheart Wheelchair Foundation. This initiative encourages South Africans to collect both the tops of plastic bottles and the tags used to keep bread loaf packaging closed.

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Once enough of these items have been collected up to a certain weight, they are given to a recycling company and, in exchange, a wheelchair is donated to the foundation, which then passes it on to a needy recipient.

“The children got all the tops by asking their friends [from school] to help collect, they also approached their school’s tuck shop and local restaurants in the neighbourhood to save the lids for them as well,” McKenzie added.

The collected bottle tops were eventually donated to the benefit of Lusito School for Special Needs Children in Regents Park, south of Johannesburg. According to McKenzie, a girl at the school around the same age as the children, named Bonile, was the recipient of their donations as she was in desperate need of a wheelchair upgrade.

Bryce Penny, Jesalyn Johnson and Brayley Penny pose with the bottle tops that they managed to collect.

“My brother and I also donated some of our pocket money to the school,” explained Brayley. “We did it because we wanted to help an underprivileged child get a wheelchair. We have so much, it felt nice to give to others who need it.”

Jesalyn added, “It was also a good reason to help clean up the environment because we got to get rid of some plastic rubbish.”

Details: www.sweetheartsfoundation.org


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Robyn Kirk

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