WARREN - Based on the smiles - and marinara sauce - on their faces, the kids who gathered at the Packard Park Shelter House on Friday had no problem adding some spice to their recycling efforts.
Dozens of people, many with beverage cans in tow, made their way to the spaghetti dinner. Attendees, in exchange for bringing a grocery bag full of beverage cans to the event to be recycled, received a free spaghetti dinner.
"It's a fun way to encourage recycling, and at the same time, do something for the community," explained Tammy Hanks of Novelis Corp., which held the event through its Novelis Neighbor program.
"We wanted to also get the schools involved and to show kids that recycling is cool. It's good for the environment. And it pays to recycle."
Hanks said participation in the event, which is in its second year, more than doubled this year. Dinners were also available for $5, but most people said they had either brought their cans to their children's schools or carried them to Friday's dinner.
To encourage schools to participate in recycling efforts, Novelis decided to award a pizza party and 20 iPads to the school that brought the most cans (by weight) to the spaghetti dinner. Also, the school with the most participation will receive five iPad minis.
Tribune Chronicle / Virginia Shank
Gavin Miller, 3, of Leavittsburg, embraces Can Man on Friday during the spaghetti dinner / recycling event sponsored by Novelis Corp. The event was part of a recycling awareness effort. Anyone who brought a grocery bag full of beverage cans to be recycled received a free spaghetti dinner.
"It's just a fun, exciting thing to do. It's something you can do with the kids and encourage them to get involved at school and do something good for the community and the environment,'' Cristal Miller of Leavittsburg said.
Miller's family brought 10 shopping bags full of cans - a bag for each family member's dinner.
Gavin Mahood, 6, of Leavittsburg said he wasn't sure how many cans his family brought. All he wanted to talk about were the meatballs on his plate.
"I love meatballs and sauce," he said. "We had a whole bunch of cans. But the meatballs are my favorite part."
His sister, Alyssa Mahood, 8, preferred to forego the sauce but enjoyed her helping of spaghetti just the same.
"It's really good. And it's for a good cause. It's important to recycle, to not litter. It's important for the environment," she said.
Proceeds from Friday's dinner and recycling effort will benefit Someplace Safe, organizers said.
The event was held in conjunction with Saturday's 5Kan Run, also sponsored by Novelis.
"It's great to see so many people here, getting involved like this. It's grown a lot from last year and we're hoping it continues," Andrea Arnio of Novelis Corp. said.