At 81 years of age, Mae Vienneau shows no signs of slowing down. And neither does her partner, Brian Hewitt, who is 92.
And as evidence the pair just recently turned in a record number of recyclable containers to the Houston Bottle Depot, generating $989.10 for the B.C. Children’s Hospital under their working name of We Care.
Formed in 2008, We Care has donated its revenue to the hospital since the beginning.
“Fortunately, our children never needed that kind of care,” said Vienneau of her family and that of Hewitt’s.
“But everywhere we went we would hear stories of people who did need that care. It’s amazing how many people that have been in that hospital.”
We Care began in Granisle where both Vienneau and Hewitt lived with their respective spouses so that there were four people as founders.
Vienneau’s husband has since passed and she still lives in Granisle. Hewitt’s wife has also passed and that was shortly after they moved to Houston.
With Vienneau in Granisle and Hewitt in Houston, We Care is very much a regional recycling service.
“We’ll come and collect,” said Vienneau adding that the two pay for their own expenses, including fuel.
And while Vienneau says they are doing just fine with a couple of helpers, they would not mind other volunteers as long as they realized they need to not only volunteer their time but also pay for any fuel they would use.
“What we do need is bottles and cans,” Vienneau added of We Care’s purpose. “Every little bit helps.”
“At first it was slow, but the last couple of years, it’s really grown,” she said.
We Care has a regular route, including places such as Coopdogg’s Fishing Lodge at Topley Landing on Babine Lake.
Vienneau and Hewitt have been stopping at the lodge for about five years each Sunday or Monday during the camping season to collect accumulated recyclables.
“As a campground, people leave each weekend so that’s then they come,” says lodge manager Ron Cooper.
There’s a trailer in which most of the recyclables are placed and three or four other locations around the lodge and campground that need emptying.
“One thing I can say, they really work hard,” said Cooper of the weekly pick up.
With the latest delivery to the Houston Bottle Depot, Vienneau estimates We Care has raised more than $20,000 for B.C. Children’s Hospital.
Depot owner John Koo describes Vienneau and Hewitt as regular customers, very friendly and well organized.
“Everything is sorted — that’s a huge help to me,” he said of the large deliveries made by the pair.