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CSC, halls recycle cans for Worker

Marisa Iati | Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Through a partnership between the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) and the South Bend Catholic Worker, Notre Dame students will contribute to the local community this school year by recycling aluminum cans.

The program, called Miraculous Metals, began this week and will continue as long as students support it, said Michael Hebbeler, director of student leadership at the CSC.

There are currently 22 residence halls participating in the Miraculous Metals program, Hebbeler said. Students can collect aluminum cans and drop them in designated boxes in their halls.

Catholic Worker staff members, as well as people who receive support from the Worker, will collect the cans and bring them to a local recycling center. The cans will then be exchanged for money, which will support the Worker’s daytime drop-in center, Our Lady of the Road, and the nighttime shelter, the St. Peter Claver House.

“There’s a men’s house and women’s house, and they take in the poor and marginalized, so people looking for a home, looking for a roof, looking for community,” Hebbeler said. “The houses open up their doors to those in need, and the people live there.”

Most of the proceeds will go to Our Lady of the Road, where people can eat a meal, do their laundry or take a hot shower. The center supports 60 to 130 people each day. The funds raised by the Miraculous Metals program will support the center’s operation as well as building repairs.

Hebbeler said these funds are especially helpful in the winter when the St. Peter Claver House provides overnight shelter from cold weather.

“They like to keep it small for fellowship and community, and they can take up to 10 men each night,” Hebbeler said. “They provide a roof and bedding and coffee and breakfast in the morning.”

Hebbeler also said many Notre Dame students regularly volunteer at the Catholic Worker. He said the visits create “a sense of solidarity of walking together.”

“There will be Notre Dame students spending the night with the homeless men as part of weather amnesty,” Hebbeler said. “Some of the money [from the metal collection] may be feeding volunteers. That’s what makes the Worker what it is — this sense of community. Notre Dame has a vital presence in the drop-in center and at the Catholic Worker.”

Although the project is just beginning, Hebbeler said the CSC is looking forward to seeing the program’s results. He also hopes more Notre Dame students will become involved with the Catholic Worker.

“There’s good enthusiasm from the [residence hall] social concerns commissioners, and we have a great partnership with the Catholic Worker community,” Hebbeler said. “We expect this project to bring more students into the community to see the impact.”