The Girls Auxiliary at Port St. Joe First Baptist Church started their third annual Can Campaign recycling program. The group seeks donations of recyclable tin and aluminum cans and uses the money to purchase Christmas gifts for needy children in the area.
The 20 girls, in first through sixth grade, are part of a mission team who works within the community. Director of First Baptist, Myra Lancaster, and the GA Director Patti Hester are at the forefront of the group that falls under the umbrella of the Woman’s Missionary Union.
When cans are dropped off, the GA members collect and bag them before they’re taken to be recycled in Panama City. The girl’s families, members of the church and Gulf County Schools have provided the bulk of the cans to-date.
“The church has really been supportive,” said Hester. “The girls learn humility and the spirit of giving.”
The GA members also go to area functions and in the future, will be setting up recycling containers at local sporting events in hopes that the community will take notice.
Lancaster said that the girls aren’t shy when it comes to approaching others about taking an empty can that might be trash in the eyes of someone else. The GA girls are happy and enthusiastic about explaining their mission.
“The girls talk up the program,” said Lancaster.
Come Christmastime the girls are given the first name and age of a child in need. They take the accumulated money and shop for age-appropriate gifts. Last year, they were able to provide full Christmases to four area children.
“It’s fun to collect the cans,” said GA member Erica Ramsey.
“We get to use them to help other people,” added Madelyn Gortemoller.
The girls were pleased to show off several cardboard boxes full of aluminum that would help someone’s Christmas wish to come true.
“They do a good job and we’re proud of them,” said Hester.
Those interested in donating to the GA can drop off their recyclable off at First Baptist Church or call to schedule a pick up.