Cans for Cristo Rey

November 30, 2023 | Published by Julie Buchanan

Cans collected by members of Christ the King Lutheran Church are hauled in a trailer to a scrap metal facility.

Aluminum cans are one of the most valuable household recyclables. They can be recycled over and over again without losing quality.

That’s why members of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Chesterfield County are saving up their cans.

More cans means more money for children they’re helping in El Salvador.

Twice per year, church members haul their cans to Smith Iron and Metal Co., a local scrap metal dealer that pays cash for cans. Together, the trips yield up to $450, all of which is sent to Cristo Rey Lutheran Church in the city of Santa Ana. Santa Ana is El Salvador’s second largest city and home to the country’s coffee bean industry.

The program is called “Cans for Cristo Rey,” and it’s been going on since 2015.

“The money is specifically used to pay for tuition and school supplies for children who are members of the church,” said Dale Korneke, a member of Christ the King. “Public school is not free in El Salvador and each child must pay $15 per month to attend school.

Our church sends money monthly to the church to support 10 children. The money needed is also augmented by donations to the Cristo Rey Fund by members of our congregation.”

Children from the community assisted by Christ the King Lutheran Church.

The idea was born in 2015 when Christ the King church members traveled to El Salvador to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. A man in their group noticed after lunch that a woman had collected everyone’s aluminum drink can to recycle and supplement her income.

“His idea was for the congregation of our church to collect aluminum cans, take them to a recycle center, and donate all the proceeds to the church where we were having lunch every day,” Korneke said. “The project has been going on since that time.”

Christ the King Lutheran Church has two recycling containers outside the building at 9800 W. Huguenot Road for anyone who like to donate empty cans.

For more information, contact Dale Korneke at 804-972-5975.



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