Published: 19 July 2021 08:00 AM

Donations continue, many with interesting stories, as Newtown resident Betty Presnell holds a woman in the bottle and can drive the car.

Presnell has been collecting and repaying returned items already a year ago. She began her project in July 2020, when she and the Nunnawauk Meadows Residents Association (NMRA) – of which she serves as president – were to attend on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic. The association’s two-day annual sale and baking sale was canceled due to global health concerns, so Presnell had to come up with a new way to raise funds for future programs and donations on behalf of the group.

That month, she made a public request for bottles and cans, and the response has been phenomenal.

She has raised not only the $ 1,500 usually collected during the annual NMRA event, but also – with the help of countless residents on Nunnawauk Meadows and elsewhere – more than $ 3,500 for the food pantry. Donations have also been made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Heart Association.

This week she made another donation to the non-national food pantry. On Tuesday, Presnell and her son Michael met Jenny Degenhardt, whose latest donation of 40 55-gallon bags filled with returns led to a $ 329.05 donation to the food pantry.

Degenhardt laughed, remembering the dismissal of all returnees.

“We had all these cans in my garage and my daughter saw one of Betty’s posts on Buy Nothing Newtown,” Degenhardt said. Buy Nothing Newtown is a local Facebook group that is part of an international network in which members are encouraged to “give and take, share, lend and express gratitude through a global network of micro-gift economies in which real wealth is the network of connections formed between people who are neighbors of real life “, according to the description on the local Facebook page.

Degenhardt said it was her daughter Krista who suggested the bottles and cans go to Presnell.

Making Collection Links

Buy Buy No Newtown site is where Presnell makes most of its collection links.

After hearing from Degenhardts, it took several trips to Big Y on Queen Street to return all the bottles and cans.

“I did the redemption in four days, I think,” Presnell said.

This collection resulted in US $ 429.05 and a redemption bill that was at least 13 inches long.

Of that figure, $ 329.05 was donated to the food pantry on July 13, bringing the total since the car started at $ 3,518.75, according to Presnell calculations.

The extra $ 100 from Degenhardt returns is set aside for United Families in Newtown, the other group that will receive a donation once the collection reaches $ 500 again.

Two weeks ago, Presnell met with Chris Farrington, who accepted a $ 500 donation to Hope On Main Street. The local group raises funds for the American Cancer Society.

While most returns are earmarked for BESIM, Presnell “puts about 10% of collections aside for different groups,” she said on June 30th. “Every time I raise $ 500 that way, I make another donation to a local nonprofit. I’m trying to keep everything local.”

To release reversible bottles or cans, visit Meadows 1D Nunnawauk. From Nunnawauk Street, use the second entrance to the complex (driving behind the community building); on the gazebo, look to the right (east-southeast direction).

“We are the house opposite the gazebo,” she told Bleta Newtown in January. “That’s what I’m telling everyone.”

Turners must be clean and rinsed, and can be left near its door. Presnell has not received any complaints about an ugly collection from neighbors, she said, because she does not leave cans and bottles resting long.

Presnell is active on Facebook, and can be accessed through Facebook Messenger.


Associate Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at

Michael Presnell, left, reunited with his mother, Betty Presnell, for one of her last donations. On June 30, Betty presented $ 500 to American Cancer Society representative Christopher Farrington.

The last donation to FAITH Food Pantry from the Betty Presnell bottle and can’s redemption campaign took place on July 14th. From left are Michael Presnell, Betty Presnell and Jenni Degenhardt; and FAITH President Lee Paulsen, volunteer Brendon Kelly and Deputy Prime Minister Jill LeBlanc. Degenhardt is holding the bill that resulted from a very large donation from her family towards ongoing fundraising efforts. – Photo Bee, Hicks