'Santa Hank' spreading holiday cheer one can at a time
Published Monday, December 19, 2016 9:04AM EST
With every empty beer can, water bottle and juice box he collects, Hank Brennan is making a difference in the lives of those who need it the most.
Brennan, affectionately known as “Santa Hank” in his community, spends 20 hours a week gathering and sorting cans and bottles to recycle in North Vancouver. Local businesses and residents donate the recyclables to Brennan’s charitable initiative called Hank’s Christmas Glitter.
“With the money, I convert that into gift cards from the local coffee shops and food chain stores, and pass them out to the homeless and needy families,” Brennan told CTV Vancouver on Sunday.
Brennan said each bottle or can is worth either a nickel or a dime. Although it may seem like petty pocket change to some, all of those coins eventually add up. Brennan said he usually raises $1,500 to $2,000 each month.
On Sunday, Santa Hank hit the streets to hand out Christmas stockings filled with little gifts and Tim Hortons gift cards to a group of homeless men in the city.
“That card to them is like handing them a little pot of gold,” Brennan said. “It's not a lot of money but it's going to put something in their stomach.”
One of the men who received a stocking and gift card on Sunday told CTV Vancouver that he was grateful for Brennan’s work.
“It’s very charitable,” the man said. “He’s a good man for what he does. God bless him.”
Brennan has been collecting bottles and cans and donating the proceeds to the needy for nine years. It’s not just a seasonal effort either; he does this work all year long.
“Basically all they’re living on is hope, to get to the next day,” Brennan said. “I get a lot out of this. It’s pretty simple. Helping people just makes me feel good. I don’t need anything more than that.”
Despite the joy it brings him, the charitable work is not always easy for him. Brennan broke down in tears when he tried to recount some of the stories he has heard from those he’s helped over the years.
“I can’t do it,” Brennan said his voice cracking. “It’s too hard. It’s too hard.”
To learn more about Brennan’s fundraiser, you can visit his website here.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro