Newcomer to Burlington right in the middle of a huge bottle drive - Saturday June 26

graphic community 3By Pepper Parr

June 9th, 2021



It is surprising the effect Burlington has on people who choose to live here.

Bottle Julie Neal

Julie Neal with her son Emmett and two Bottle Drive volunteers

Julie Neal and her family have been in Burlington about three years. It was the community she and her husband chose to live in when circumstances required a move.

Her experience was like thousands of others – a Mom meets a Mom because their children seem to get along and they play together. Then another Mom is introduced and then there is a local event that the Moms help out on and before she knew it Julie was involved in a fund raising drive through a connection with Burlington Dads.

“ I had lived in Toronto for more than 15 years and was convinced I would be there for the rest of my life. I was an elementary school teacher and I loved my job. I ran a Scottish Dancing school which I tried to keep up after moving to Burlington.

“That didn’t work out. For the first number of months I would drive into Toronto regularly to meet up with friends but after a while I found I was putting down roots in Burlington and the trips to Toronto became fewer and fewer. It has been some time since I drove the QEW.

“My children have taken to Burlington – the youngest knows nothing about Toronto.

“I was asked by new friends if I could help out with a bottle drive fund raiser that took place four times a year and I jumped right in.

“The group raised $8000 which stunned me.  The people of Burlington just turn up when there is a need.”

The pandemic however changed everything.

“There were a lot of people who needed help and I convinced the people that I started working with that we could do a one day event and really have an impact.

“The “one day” event is Saturday June 26th.


“The North Burlington Baptist Church let us use their driveway which will allow people to drive in and drive out and not have to look for a place to park during the last drive.

“We have arranged for cargo vans to take the bottles and cans to the collection centre in Stoney Creek. We have to bag the bottles and cans and add a tag stating how many items there are in each of the clear plastic bags.

“What is making the June event much more interesting is the support we are getting from the hospitality sector. More than 45 locations have given us Gift cards that we will be giving to people as prizes. Everyone who drops off bottles or cans or food items will be given a ticket that gets put into a draw.

Bottle drive - sample card“The Gift Cards are at the $25 level for the most part. When I dropped into one retail operation and asked if they would like to take part they gave us eight cards.

Couple of differences this event explains Julie, “We are asking people to separate the bottles and the cans so that we can move them to the collection centre quickly. We expect the cargo vans will be used to make several trips.”

The funds raised through the bottle drive will go to the Compassion Society – the food will go to the Food Bank.

In the newspaper business we interview hundreds of people. A comment Julie made as we were ending the interview surprised us. She was talking about how much she was enjoying the work (and there is a lot of it) that has to be done and said: “Who am I? I’m just a nobody loving the community I now live in”.

A relative newcomer to the city making an incredible contribution.  Make a point of taking those cans and bottles to the drive in on the 26th – they will operate from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Every bottle and can will be needed to reach that $8000 target.

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