Gia Tran has donated the funds from collecting bottles and cans to the BC Cancer Foundation in Vancouver for 21 years
Nearly every weekday over the past two decades, a Canadian woman has dropped by the offices of a cancer foundation in Vancouver to make a donation.
The money, earned by collecting cans and bottles, rarely comes to more than $10 a time.
But staff at the BC Cancer Foundation recently calculated that Gia Trans 21 years of donations have totaled more than $15,000 a testament to what they say is the kindness of her heart.
Its always the same, Dianne Parker, a receptionist at the BC Cancer Foundation, told the CBC. She comes in with a big smile and she always says: I love everybody here, and I want to help people.
Each day, Tran, 62, walks the streets of downtown Vancouver, hunting for discarded cans and bottles.
Summer is a more bountiful time for her, when most of the city is out in the sun, enjoying the parks. But she persists with the task even in the damp, chilly winters of Canadas west coast.
My kids say: Mom, I dont want you to go outside. Its too cold, Tran told the CBC. I say: No, I go. I want to help people. I want to go to the hospital cancer. I help people. My kids say: OK, you go, you go.
Deposit values for cans and bottles vary greatly in British Columbia. Any cans or small plastic bottles that held non-alcoholic beverages will net 5 cents a unit. Beer cans are worth double at 10 cents.
The highest value item is the wine bottle which earns 20 cents a bottle and is also the heaviest item. Tran prefers cans, which are lighter, enabling her to carry more.
Informal recycling networks are a critical part of Canadian cities. Toronto has the largest, with dozens of collectors scouring parks and the backyards of residences to get discarded alcohol containers. In many areas of the city, residents leave alcoholic containers near the street for pickup. As a result, the province has a 98% return rate for glass beer bottles.
Sarah Roth at the BC Cancer Foundation told the CBC: No matter what kind of day youre having, when Gia comes in, you forget about it and you just focus on her warmth and her laughter and her true benevolence.