Teenager was happy to give away booze bottles

Mary Kate Puopolo
Mary Kate Puopolo

Mary Kate Puopolo, a grade 8 student at St. Anselm Catholic School, thought that returning a year’s worth of amassed bottles would make a big contribution to her savings.

Instead, she and her dad filled their SUV with the empties and took them to The Beer Store at Bayview and Eglinton on May 25 for the Returns for Leukemia bottle drive, organized annually by The Beer Store in partnership with its union, United Food & Commercial Workers.

Mary Kate decided others had more need for the money than she did, so she donated the lot to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, which funds research and provides support for leukemia patients.

Volunteer Tracey Langmuir said that most customers happily relinquished their returns, including a “bottle collector,” a man who regularly visits the store to cash in scavenged empties, who generously donated some of his finds.

In 2012, the province-wide initiative raised $1.67 million. The Returns for Leukemia drive takes place each year on the Saturday and Sunday following the May long weekend at Beer Store locations across Ontario.