What do you get when you add an aluminum can to a bunch of other aluminum cans? You get a loan fund. I have just come in from the front porch where I have been busy smashing cans collected over the last week or so. Cans come from some friends and neighbors, but mostly they come from residents at Taft Homes, where I am proud to serve as manager. We started collecting cans in mid-June. Residents were invited to save cans and bring them to the office. It has really become a unifying community activity. The cans are recycled and the proceeds go into a micro-loan fund for residents. The maximum loan is $10.00, but it is surprising what $10.00 can do when you have nothing! Residents decided not to make any loans until we had at least $100.00 and not to make any loans if the fund gets down to $20.00. The first loan was made in September as it took a while to get people involved. So far, thirty-four loans have been made. Loans are to be repaid within 30 days and there is a 50 cent charge that is due when the loan is repaid. Very few loans have gone beyond the 30 days and no other loans can be given if there is an unpaid loan.
Loans have been used to buy a few groceries, diapers, bus rides, probably a few six-packs and who knows what else. We do not ask. It is just heart-warming to see the level of participation in the can collection by a sizable number of residents, even those who have never used the loan fund. Even with the loans that are currently out, we have about $170.00 in the cash box. I would call it a success!