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Dorms, ILGs Join Program to Help Boston's Homeless

By Eva Moy
Associate News Editor

MIT dormitories and some independent living groups have joined a program called Boston Can, a non-profit business which collects recyclable cans and bottles with deposit and donates the proceeds to area homeless shelters and people. Boston Can is a part of the Massachusetts Volunteer Network, which provides services and opportunities for homeless people.

MIT is one of 12 area colleges participating in this collection network, which includes Tufts University, Harvard University, Lesley College, Fisher College, and the Boston Conservatory, among others. Boston City Hall, city government offices, and about five businesses also participate, according to Jeanne M. Favazzo, a Boston Can employee. This is the second week of MIT's participation.

Boston Can will provide boxes, collection bins, and pickup services to groups which continually donate recyclables, Favazzo said.

It is "the conviction of Boston Can to create a stable and supportive work environment that not only encourages but facilitates upward and outward mobility," according to a flyer put out by Boston Can. The program provides "personal development and support systems" for the homeless as well as "confidence to break into the mainstream job market," Favazzo said.

The five cents per returned can and bottle helps pay for "self-improvement programs," Simmons said. These include job training and substance abuse programs, social counselors, and General Equivalency Degree and English as a Second Language classes.

"We have two employees who are formally homeless ... and a lot of volunteers," Favazzo said. He hopes that more homeless people will be employed once the program gets off the ground.

MIT off to good start

Volunteers from every undergraduate and graduate dormitory are contributing to the effort. "I think it's wonderful... . [The students are] the ones that make everything work around here," said John P. Corcoran, East Campus house manager. "I'd rather see the returnables go to an organization" than simply get recycled, he said.

Bailey E. Hewit, the McCormick house manager, agreed. "I think it's terrific. It's moving right along," she said.

"I'm not sure it's fully underway yet," said Eva D. Regnier '92, head student coordinator. She added that pickups may be made once every other week in the event that there is not enough material to warrant a weekly collection.

Collection sites at East Campus, McCormick Hall, Burton House, MacGregor House, Tang Hall, and Edgerton House serve all of the dormitories that participate.

Many ILGs have not joined Boston Can, largely because they have already set up their own systems, said Ateev Mehrotra '94, a member of Theta Xi. ILGs might not have room to store cans or bottles, he added. He also said that after Boston Can is set up in the dormitories, individual living groups may bring their recyclables to dormitory collection sites.

Budget Car and Truck Rental has donated a truck for picking up the cans and bottles. "Without them we wouldn't have a collection network," she added.

On April 27, Boston Can is holding the Boston Can Challenge at City Hall Plaza, where the group hopes to raise $6,000 in one day from recyclable items donated by area businesses and colleges.