Woman makes $15K in donations by collecting bottles and cans over 21 years

By Staff Writer

Nearly every day, a small, salt and pepper haired woman walks through the front doors of the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s front doors, usually bursting with a smile. She hands the B.C Cancer Foundation a small amount of cash.

Gia Tran has been collecting bottles and cans and donating the refund money to the B.C. Cancer Foundation for the past 21 years. Staff estimate that over the years she’s donated around $15,000.

“It’s always the same,” Dianne Parker, the receptionist at the foundation’s office, told the CBC. “She comes in with a big smile and she always says, ‘I love everybody here, and I want to help people.'”

Tran lives near Main and East Hastings and collects cans and bottles in her neighborhood. She told the CBC that she usually prefers cans to bottles since they’re much lighter to carry around. Tran then usually walks to the return depot since the bus limits the load she can carry. From there, she heads on to the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s office, a trip that can take between 45 minutes and an hour and a half.

Sarah Roth, chief executive of the B.C. Cancer Foundation, told the CBC that Tran’s visits are a daily highlight. “She is like the joy of our day when she comes, absolutely,” said Roth. “She’s just here because of the kindness of her heart, and that then spills into our whole office and it makes everybody smile and it makes everyone feel good.”