There's this kid at my son's school who, as part of a year-long project, is doing some work for a charity. I first saw the sign for it at the beginning of the school year and I remember thinking to myself "man, this is pretty cool, if it's legit maybe I can find some way to keep doing this after he's done with his project." Despite passing the sign twice a day for four months, today was the first day I actually thought to look it up while I was sitting at my PC.
The charity involves collecting plastic caps for.. some medical thing in Mexico. I don't remember, I need to find out what it was called. The thing is, as many of you probably knew as soon as you read that, it is probably a hoax. Snopes did a whole thing about the origin of it. As far as I can find there is exactly ONE legitimate charity that collects caps and it's run by this woman in Florida. I guess she saw the circulating hoax and said "sure, why not." So she has people send her bottle caps and she uses the money from sorting and recycling them to buy kids wheelchairs who can't afford them. Or did. As of 2017, she said she started doing it when the materials in the cap were worth more. Even at their most valuable the caps brought in very little, and it wastes more than they're worth to ship them. She still wants local
people to donate them, but we are definitely not local. Over the 7 years or so this woman has been doing this, she has managed to buy just over 100 wheelchairs.
Her charity brings in so little she isn't even required to fill out the complete form for her 501(c)(3), she certainly isn't going to be buying anyone chemo.
There are still things you can do with the caps to get money, for instance finding a recycling center local to us that might pay something toward a charity for them, many have forms for that sort of thing. Or taking what you get and donating it directly. Recycling is fairly new to this state though, and it's hard to find somewhere that will even reliably take glass let alone pay you for plastic caps they'll end up needing to sort either way.
The thing is.. I have no idea what to do about this kid. It's not their fault it's a weird and yet popular hoax. I'm pretty credulous and even I had to give pause when I saw it, but I figured it must have been looked into carefully because it's someone's project. Tomorrow when I go in and pass the sign I'm going to look up the actual name/site on my phone, but my hopes aren't high. If it's legit, please for the love of Glob take my plastic and recycle it for me, my complex doesn't use a service.
If it's not legit, and I suspect that it isn't, what would you do? I have no idea who the kid is, but the woman at the desk likely knows and could relay the info or possibly get me in touch. Do I tell her what's up? Try to get in contact with the kid for a talk? I don't want to embarrass anybody or wreck a project or anything, and it's really tempting to do nothing, pretend I didn't notice, and say to myself "a 13-year-old is probably savvy enough to research a charity and knows what to do with the caps." Nobody has to be embarrassed including me. On the other hand, if they don't
know by now, then telling them could give them a chance to switch gears, recycle locally, and donate whatever money they can get to a legit charity. I don't know how in-depth these projects are, or if they'll need to do end-of-year correspondence or something. Letting it go to that point certainly doesn't help anyone save face.
If this were Autism Speaks, I would have said something immediately (and have in the past because fuck
Autism Speaks), but I also know that Autism Speaks is predatory in every way. This is different because in this case no resources are going directly toward evil. The caps probably aren't going anywhere
, and it's a kid... and one I don't know, at that.