"In over three years, I have collected three-quarters of a ton of paper and over 200 pounds of pencils," Max says. He has also collected bottles of glue, glue sticks, backpacks, uniforms, folders, crayons, notebooks, and the list goes on and on.
Max collects the items as part of a program he calls “Project Rescue,” an effort he founded to collect new and gently used school supplies for disadvantaged kids.
Here's how it works; every year, Max contacts local schools about placing collection boxes, provided by Pierce Box & Paper, at the location which can be used to recycle usable school supplies. By collecting used school supplies when kids clean out their desks and lockers at the end of the school year, usable school supplies have been saved from being thrown away in landfills. Each spring, Max, or a volunteer, collects the supplies and gives them to MELD, Rock House Kids, Rosie's Birthday Club, and other Rockford-area agencies that put the supplies into the hands of kids that need them.
This activity has become a tradition for Max. He’s been doing it now for the past three years.
"A couple years ago, Max and his church group heard me come speak to their congregation and to their Sunday School," recalls Karen Tilly, Director of Development for Rockford MELD. "Max had this real passion to do something with recycling and social service agencies. I think when you see kids like this, you know that there's hope for the future."
Max is paying it forward by making a positive difference in the lives of Rockford kids.
"As long as you put your heart into it, and you're happy with doing it, it will be successful," Max states.
Max prefers not to take credit for the work he's doing, instead crediting Helene Burial Vaults, MELD, Unitarian Universalist Church and the FIT for his inspiration.