Montreal

Pointe-Claire man combs garbage for charity

Maurice Parkes, 82, collects cans and bottles from garbage bins in his West Island neighbourhood to raise money for local charities.

'Happiest man in the world,' raised more than $12K foraging for recyclables

Maurice Parkes says his bottles and cans scavenger hunt started a few years ago as a friendly competition. (CBC)

An 82-year-old Pointe-Claire man has been rifling through people's trash in the West Island.

But don't be alarmed. His goal is to find bottles and cans he can sell to raise money for charity.

Maurice Parkes says it started in 2012 as a competition between friends and "a bit of a joke."

"A fellow from the other congregation challenged me to raise $1,000. Then we did that and we teased him a bit and he said 'I bet you can't raise $10,000.'" 

Never one to back down from a challenge, Parkes and his friends raised more than $12,000.

'A big help,' says food bank 

The Christian Action Food Bank in Pointe-Claire is one of the local charities Parkes supports. Volunteer Jack Fraser says the help allows the food bank to buy more food to supplement their deliveries.  

People are so kind. I've never seen so much kindness.- Maurice Parkes

"Most churches are struggling. There's a smaller group of people contributing. With this, there's an added injection of cash," says Fraser. 

One of Parkes' friends, Lynn Coughlin, says the initiative is a great way to get out in the community and see how generous the neighbours are. He says he's often mistaken for someone in need of charity. 

"I can understand why they would wonder. You know, 'That poor unfortunate, he seems to need to forage,'" says Coughlin. 

'Happiest man in the world'

Parkes, who calls himself "the happiest man in the world," credits his more than 50-year marriage and the generosity he sees while combing garbage bins for his bliss. 

He says strangers often approach him wanting to help, offering home cooked meals or slipping cash into his hands.

"People are so kind. I've never seen so much kindness. Everyone wants to help," says Parkes. 

Pointe-Claire man dumpster dives for charity

(not applicable)

6 years ago
2:07
Maurice Parkes, 82, searches for cans and bottles in people's trash to raise money for local charities. 2:07

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Morgan Dunlop is a reporter with CBC Montreal.

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