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Tadbitz: Down to the nitty gritty

There is nothing glamorous about sorting through thousands of bottles year-round. It isn’t a pretty sight. However, that is exactly what one CLB volunteer does every week.

For the past two years, Norm Spooner has been diligently picking up bottles from around Whitecourt from various businesses on Wednesdays and Saturdays. To get a better understanding of the grueling work that he does, I went for a ride along with him in the Community Lunch Box bottle pick up truck.

“It’s not as bad as it used to be,” Spooner shared with me, “It’s made a world of difference, ever since the custom-made lids for the bottle disposal containers was implemented. Before it was often more sifting through disgusting garbage then finding bottles.”

Spooner says there are plans soon to drill a hole in the bottom of the containers to help with sludge drainage.

After seeing the inside of one of these containers I can attest to this future goal, the sludge looked more like creamy alfredo sauce, with a few tobacco cartons thrown in for good measure.

Norm had no qualms stating that he hated this job so I asked him what motivates him to continue doing something he dislikes.

He answered by saying this volunteer work, that is, picking up bottles weekly for a community inclusive program, lets him give back to the community in a meaningful way. Prior to retiring he was constantly busy with work that took him to unique places such as Russia, China, Turkestan, to name a few, so he never got the chance to be more involved with his community. He quickly added “I have the best boss ever,” referring to Tara Baker

It was an eye-opening experience for me. I got to see first hand what drives the bottle program and the intensive work it takes every week to help ensure the Program’s sustainability, for without this vital component, the many programs that the Lunch Box offers to our community would not come to fruition.

It is volunteers like Norm Spooner that makes this community inclusive program shine. Thank you for all your hard work, Mr. Spooner.

Norm Spooner picks up bottles from around Whitecourt for the Community Lunch Box program.

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