by Rachel Everett-Fry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Judy Beattie of Kemptville collects empty wine, liquor, and beer bottles to support “Empties for Paws.” Judy has a drop-off area set up at her home, and drives all over the North Grenville area picking up empties.
Collaborating with Melody Lachance of “Empties for Paws Barrhaven and Area,” the bottles are returned, and 100% of the money is donated in support of animal sanctuaries, including Big Sky Ranch and TNR Spencerville Cat Rescue. Between the launch of Empties for Paws in 2015 and June of this year, $83,908 has been donated to animal rescues through this program.
Judy started working with Melody in 2018 while living in Barrhaven. When Judy moved to Kemptville in November of 2020, she wanted to continue supporting Empties for Paws, so she started collecting here in North Grenville. Her main motivations are her love for dogs and her desire to give more animals “a fair chance at life.” She also notes that she has gotten to know the area, and has made “a lot of good relationships” with the people she regularly collects from.
Not only does Judy’s collection provide funds to local rescues, but it keeps recyclables out of landfills. She regularly picks up empties at about 40 homes. She also “helps out” during clean up situations, whether someone is simply cleaning out the garage, or remedying a hoarding situation. Judy also accepts donations of expired, or soon to be expired, pet food: she notes that in spite of posted expiry dates, these foods are typically still good for a year.
During the pandemic, Judy has been working with the not-for-profit organization “Not Just Tourists”, which typically sends medical supplies with tourists heading to under-served countries. However, due to travel restrictions, it has not been possible to send off these medical supplies for human use. Now, rather than those supplies being dumped, Judy is collecting them for distribution to animal rescues. Not only does this reduce waste, but saves rescues a lot of money.
Though Judy works closely with Melody and the other volunteers associated with Empties for Paws Barrhaven and Area, Judy could use some help in North Grenville. She spends upward of six hours a week sorting the cans dropped off at her home, running pickups, or cashing in the returns. Help with any of these tasks would be very much welcomed. Further, Judy suggests that high school students looking for volunteer hours could sort and count empties.
For more information, check out the Facebook page at /www.facebook.com/barrhavenandareaempties, or contact Judy Beattie directly. To drop off empties, bring cans from alcoholic beverages in clear bags, wine and liquor bottles, or the bag (not box) from boxed wine, to the bins in front of the garage at 12 Ferguson Street in Kemptville.