Bottle and can drive more popular than usual

  • Rolling Thunder Treasurer Lynn Laughton organizes recyclables at a fundraiser this weekend in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Rolling Thunder member Pam Toy organizes recyclables at a fundraiser this weekend in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2020 4:49:51 PM
Modified: 11/16/2020 4:49:47 PM

ORANGE — For the second time this year, a bottle and can drive for a local veterans’ organization this weekend raised about three times more money than usual — probably because of the pandemic, organizers said.

“We’ve had mountains of bags of things to sort through,” said Lynn Laughton, the treasurer of Rolling Thunder, Vermont Chapter 1. “We’re just getting inundated with everyone’s returnables. So we’re making a lot of money.”

Rolling Thunder, which supports local veterans and donates to other local organizations that provide veterans’ services, normally holds many more fundraisers than it has had this year. Many of the normal fundraisers are things like pancake breakfasts and social events, which haven’t been able to happen in the pandemic, Laughton said.

Bottle and can drives usually raise a few hundred dollars, Laughton said. But in September, the last time Rolling Thunder had a bottle and can drive, it raised $1,500.

At the time, organizers thought it was a lucky fluke. The fundraiser this weekend, they thought, would probably bring in a more normal amount.

But when it opened on Saturday at the Orange American Legion it was busy all day. On Sunday morning, Laughton said the drive had still been busier than usual, and that the bags people were leaving were bigger than usual.

The difference is probably that, in the pandemic, people have fewer opportunities to redeem cash returns on their recyclables, and so they aren’t getting rid of them as often, Laughton said.

“We thought we’d do it again, and we didn’t think we’d have nearly as much (as September),” she said. “But it was the same thing — people are bringing bags of them, because they have them at home and they can’t get rid of them.”

Apart from its fundraisers, Rolling Thunder is still continuing with many of its normal activities, but less publicly. On Pearl Harbor Day, the group normally holds a wreath-laying ceremony at the French King Bridge. That will probably still happen this year, Laughton said, but won’t be a public event.

Rolling Thunder will probably still participate in Wreaths Across America, a program that distributes wreaths in December to honor and memorialize veterans, but it probably won’t be publicized the same as usual, Laughton said.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-930-4231.

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