Six years ago -- on the 10th anniversary of his marriage -- Thomas Althaus decided to get a little creative with his gift for his wife.
He made her jewelry out of tin cans. Of course, she loved it and encouraged him to start a business and named it CANNED GOODS .
“We repurpose tin food cans into products you love, and then we give one can of food back to charity for each piece we sell,” Althaus said.
Using recycled tin cans, it only made sense to do more good with a canned good.
“Really, I just want to help people," Althaus said.
As a part of his business, Althaus decided to start donating a can to local food banks for every piece of jewelry sold.
He usually lets them build up before he drops them off.
“To donate 800, 900, 1000 cans… it really makes us feel like we’re making a difference,” Althaus said.
This time, his drop-off location of choice is called Metro Caring . It’s an anti-hunger organization that meets people’s immediate needs for nutritious food, while also addressing poverty as the root cause of hunger.
“Being able to come here and get food – healthy food that I need – means a lot to me,” DC Coulon, a volunteer and participant at Metro Caring, said.
Living with a disability and a fixed income, he says Metro Caring has become a place he really believes in.
“What Metro Caring means to me is it’s a place where I can come. I’m welcomed for who I am, I’m accepted for who I am, I can be whoever I want to be here,” Coulon said.
And he’s able to get food thanks to donations from people, companies and organizations.
“We don’t really limit folks on what they can get except for meat, so without donations from those folks from canned goods, we would not be able to do that," Coulon said.
The goal is to give people the resources they need to get to a more sustainable place in life. But first and foremost, food is a basic necessity to live, and through Metro Caring, the hungry can be fed, when a community comes together.
“You’re donating to a cause that wants to end hunger at its roots. So with your donation, we can further our mission," Coulon said.
As Canned Goods continues to grow in retailers from Brooklyn to L.A., donations are getting larger. Thomas can only hope his impact will grow larger too.
“Every time we sell, we know we’re going to give. We sell, we give. To be integrated into the community and be giving back to the community, and to know that mouths are being filled by us doing this fun, hard work… it means the world to me," Althaus said.