Irma Love gathers recyclables for the needy.

Love gives to those less fortunate

Big-hearted Sooke senior returns returnables to help Sooke Food Bank

Selfless acts of kindness

Every now and then, in the grind of day-to-day living, one uncovers a gem.

That is what happened at the Sooke News Mirror when a kindly neighbour called the Sooke News Mirror to sing the praises of Irma Love.

At first, this neighbour thought that Love was going through the neighbour’s recycling bins and collecting the returnables to augment a scant income. With the flatlining of incomes, the erosion of seniors’ incomes, and the burgeoning increase of costs, sights like this are becoming increasingly common. But instead turning a vague opinion into a mental fact, said neighbour approached Love and asked what she was doing.

The response the neighbour received was moving enough that she phoned us at the Mirror and arranged for us to speak with Irma Love, general citizen of Sooke with a massively generous heart.

You see, Love, accompanied with her metal pull cart, a grocery bag and some garbage bags, gathers all the returnable recyclables from the curb side bins twice a week on recycling day. Once a month, she cashes them in. Then, she turns over every penny of her tidings to the Sooke Food Bank. Ms. Love has been doing this for three years now. To date, she has collected over $600 for the Food Bank.

And that’s only if you count the returnables.

The other form of giving that Ms. Love engages in is cashing in her Shopper’s Drug Mart points. Whenever she has accumulated $50 or $60 dollars worth in points, Love does a grocery shop at Shoppers and donates the proceeds to the Food Bank.

And, yes, there’s even more. Every year, Love crochets hats and mitts for the Sooke Crisis Centre. And when her crochet needle is bored of the winter basics, she’ll whip up a Barbie outfit or two to donate to the Christmas Bureau for its gifts selection for children.

What’s her motivation? She spoke with the people doing the recycling, and they told her that the returnables were merely recycled, but not cashed in first. That’s akin to throwing money away.

“So I figured, Oh well, may as well put it to good use,” says Love. “And one day, I may have to use it.”

As long as she’s healthy and able to give, she’s going to do do what she can and give to local charities.

So if you live in the Helgesen area and see a woman with a hand-drawn shopping cart rooting through your recycling, know that you may be inadvertently contributing to the Sooke Food Bank.

Irma Love is doing more than paying it forward. She’s pre-paying. And it’s returning more than interest by providing her with both a sense of purpose and a sense of accomplishment.

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