Drop off cans in trailer located at Inside Lane on Highway 61 North.
SIKESTON - Della Hubbard put out a call for help two years ago. She asked the community to drop off their aluminum cans and the money received for recycling them would be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Residents heard her loud and clear. To date about $5,000 has been raised and the cans are still coming to the drop-off spot, a trailer at Inside Lane on Highway 61 N.
"It's just been wonderful, I really had no idea what kind of a response we'd get," said Hubbard. "I think people just believe in what St. Jude does and you just don't know what's going to happen or if it's going to be your family. For instance, right now there are three teen-agers and one 8-year-old in Sikeston schools who have cancer. Every penny from the cans goes to St. Jude. When we take them to be recycled they make the check out directly to St. Jude."
Located in Memphis, St. Jude is known as one of the world's leading centers for research and treatment of catastrophic diseases in children, primarily pediatric cancers.
Over 4,000 patients are seen at the research facility every year and most are treated on a continuing outpatient basis as part of ongoing research programs. The hospital also maintains 56 beds for patients requiring hospitalization during treatment.
To date, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has treated more than 17,000 children from across the U.S. and 60 foreign countries.
A father himself, Eric Blackwelder appreciates the cans people bring to help the children, yet is amazed at the amount. "People come with oodles and gobs of cans," remarked Blackwelder, co-owner of Inside Lane.
"This has turned into more than I ever thought it would," he said. "I think people take the time to collect the cans any way and it takes no more than five minutes to throw the cans in the trailer. They know it goes for a good cause."
Hubbard noted that on Wednesday, the high school began collecting cans to contribute to Hubbard's mission as a way of helping their classmates who are diagnosed with cancer.
"I think as we go along other organizations and groups will want to collect cans for us as well," she said, noting that a man who heard about the project is setting up his own drop-off location in Dexter to help St. Jude.
Elbert Hubbard admitted he wasn't overly enthusiastic about his wife's idea in the beginning. In his eyes it meant more work for him. "I could just see me having to go and clean up the mess and take the trailer to be unloaded," he joked. "And it does take time, but as it turned out, I couldn't believe how many cans that have been collected. It's just unreal. We usually get $500 a load, depending of course on the price of aluminum at the time."
Stressing she could not have accomplished this without her husband and son, Hubbard said the reward is knowing she is helping some very sick children.
"It makes me feel really good to do this and to know how successful it's been," she said. "It's the easiest fund-raiser I've ever been involved in and I plan on staying with this as long as people keep bringing in their cans."