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County man delivers $10,000 worth of Many Happy Returns

David Hepburn, with Trudy Brown and David Smith, of the Wellington Rotary Club.

When David Hepburn made a $200 donation to the 99.3 County FM radio, Sunday, it marked a $10,000 milestone for contributions to the community.

Just over four years ago, Hepburn, a 37-year-old developmentally challenged individual in Prince Edward County, started a project with the help of his family and friends called ‘Many Happy Returns’.

The purpose of Many Happy Returns was three-fold: It would give David an opportunity to contribute to his community, improve the environment and assist others in need.

His parents purchased a vehicle for David and a support worker to drive to various homes and businesses in the County to pick up returnable beer and liquor bottles that might otherwise end up in landfill or recycling. David returns the bottles for a refund and presents the money collected to worthwhile causes in the community.

“It has been a real community effort,” said Noreen Vader, David’s mother. “The Wellington Rotary members, through their return depot, and the Beer Store staff have been terrific in helping facilitate bottle and can returns which often amount to thousands of items at one time. And the Wellington Anglican Church provided a grant to help build a storage shed for David and friends to sort and count items.

The project, she said, has been beneficial in David’s assimilation into the community.

“He loves to travel to various houses and use his trolley to load boxes and bags into the vehicle for return,” she added. “The project can be labour-intensive as it involves not only driving throughout the County to pick up items, but also these items have to be counted and sorted before they are driven to the retun depots.”

Many Happy Returns was successful because so many people in the County saw the benefits, Vader added.

“And that’s what we do best in the County -help one-another,” said Dave MacKay, Vader’s husband.

Donations have been many to many organizations such as the hospital, the Loyalist Humane Society, various food banks and service clubs.

“As well, individuals and families in need have received donations such as school supplies, clothing, parking passes for hospital visits and food vouchers.”

The COVID-19 crisis has seen an increase in calls for pick-ups as traditional methods for returning bottles were closed for many weeks.

“While this meant that Many Happy Returns reached its goal of $10,000 much sooner than expected, it provided additional strain on the project,” said Vader. “We made sure we were masked and picked up only at a safe distance as people left their returns at the end of a driveway, or on a porch.”

Despite reaching their goal of raising $10,000, David and his family plan to continue making Many Happy Returns.

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  1. Administrator says:

    Contact David through the Many Happy Returns Facebook page:

  2. Shirley says:

    How do we contact David for bottle pick up?

  3. Andre Gratton says:

    I have been supporting David’s efforts since we moved here 5 years ago. I had the good fortune of first meeting his mother Noreen, and then some of the Vader family that support him. He does amazing work and more people should actively support this young man’s efforts…he is a force to be reckoned with. This 10K dollar mark is from one person…his efforts despite his challenges, he is making a difference. There is no better story than this.

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