Artist and advocate Michael Fatt is collecting recyclables in Yellowknife to spread holiday cheer to people in need this Christmas.
Fatt is the project coordinator for Common Ground, an employment program for people experiencing homelessness in Yellowknife. He says he wants to do something positive with the growing stockpile of empty bottles and cans.
“We were collecting cans and bottles for quite a while,” he said. “I decided that it would be better just to put it towards people who really need it.”
Fatt posted a request for recyclables on Facebook earlier this month, as first reported by NNSL. He said the response has been “overwhelming.”
“Very surprisingly, people are big on it,” he said. “People really liked this idea. Every house I seem to go to, everybody runs out and thanks me and says, ‘You’re doing a great job, this is a good thing.’”
So far, Fatt said, he has cashed in recyclables worth $3,500. He expects he’ll raise at least $4,000.
He wants to use the money to buy Christmas presents, warm clothing, food, and whatever else people need – particularly the city’s street-involved population – during a holiday season affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ll see where the needs are at that time,” he said. “We’re gonna just go with the flow.”
Fatt said the bottle collection project is supported by the relatively new Northwest Territories chapter of samaritan group Crazy Indian Brotherhood.
“We’re not a gang. It’s a brotherhood of people who try to raise funds and just do good stuff for people. We’re like a better version of our old selves,” he explained.
Fatt is looking for volunteers to help with bottle collection, noting it takes hours just to remove caps and sort recyclables.
“I’m doing this myself,” he said. “It’s a full-time job on my days off.”