Williams Family in Centre surrounded by Students from Central Youth, church members and family and friends.

Donations pile up in bottle drive for young Chilliwack amputee

Organizers raised more than twice the amount of money they were hoping for

Organizers of an effort to help a young boy who lost his hand following an ATV crash last month raised twice the amount they were expecting to on Saturday.

The impromptu bottle drive – organized by students at Central Community Church – hoped to raise at least $3,500 to help purchase a prosthetic hand for 13-year-old Sheldon Williams.

But when the sorting was done, more than $7,360 in recyclable donations had been collected, along with $1,200 in cash.

The money will help purchase a “myoelectric hand” for Sheldon, as well as help the Williams family, said Jonathan Kornelsen, Youth Pastor at Central Community Church.

“In an event like this,” said Kornelsen, “there are also so many practical needs that need to be taken care of, like transportation to and from the hospital, trauma counselling, and even simple things like groceries. There are so many practical needs that Sheldon and his family are going to need.”

Sheldon had been involved in an ATV incident on July 19 near Princeton. His vehicle rolled over, leading to a compound fracture to his right forearm, and a crush injury to his hand. Doctors at B.C. Children’s Hospital did their best, explained Kornelsen, but one week after the accident Sheldon’s hand had to be amputated.

When the church’s youth group heard about the incident, members knew they had to do something.

So they organized and promoted a simple bottle drive in the hopes of providing some support for Sheldon and his family.

The support was overwhelming.

By 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, the empties began piling up, and at one point the mound would reach seven feet high.

More than 80 volunteers spent the day sorting through nearly 115,000 items, said Kornelsen. “Car after car came dropping off their cans and wishing Sheldon a quick recovery.”

Among those attending was Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove, who even spent time sorting cans along side students and parents.

“I was totally impressed by the outpouring of support to this cause and to see the final numbers,” said Popove. “That’s why I love my community: because it’s that…. a community.”

Kornelsen thanked the residents, community groups and businesses for their support, (including EZE Rent-it, “for the use of a much needed pressure washer to clean up after.”)

Said Kornelsen: “It’s one of our core beliefs as a church that we are to be a place that loves and cares for people in need as we seek to bring glory to God and to offer hope in this world, and we can accomplish this by working together with our community in displaying compassion and care to those in times of need.”

READ MORE: Church community raising funds for young Chilliwack hand amputee

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