Rodney McGahan

Rodney McGahan stands by his truck outside Walmart Tuesday morning. The scrapper will be leaving the truck at the store each Tuesday in the month of November to collect pop cans to raise money to buy diapers and wipes for babies in need.

Local entrepreneur Rodney McGahan is hoping to give back to the community one can — and diaper — at a time.

Through the month of November, the local scrap metal guy will be taking donations of aluminum pop cans and turning them into cash for a cause. 

He can currently get 40 cents a pound for aluminum pop cans so he’s diverting his scrapping business for a month to raise money for a worthy cause. Funds raised from donated cans will go to the Olympia nonprofit organization Dry Tikes & Wet Wipes, a group that aims to help babies one diaper at a time. The organization helps supplement low income families with diapers twice a month.

Each Tuesday in November from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., McGahan will park his truck (complete with scrap metal business decal as an identifier) near the lighthouse at the Walmart parking lot. Anyone wanting to donate cans can pop by and drop them off in the bed of his truck. His goal is to collect up to $200 in cans.

The idea spurred from McGahan and his wife’s desire to give back to the community. 

“My wife and I wanted to give back, but we don’t really have extra money to give and we didn’t want to ask people to donate money,” McGahan said. “Cans are something everyone has, that they just throw away in recycling.”

The cause is also something the couple can relate to.

McGahan moved to the area about 11 years ago to take over the local Navy recruiting office in Olympia. In 2012, he found himself retiring, newly married with a baby and fighting for custody of his three children from his first marriage. 

“I went from an E8 pay of $80,000 a year to a Walmart salary,” he said. “We struggled as new parents and working as a Navy recruiter, I know how many low incomes families there are in the area.”

Now he finds himself going back to school utilizing his GI Bill and collecting scrap in the area for additional income for his family.

“I run scrap metal in the area because I want to keep the area clean,” McGahan said. “Anything I see dumped on the side of the road that I can scrap, I’ll pick up.”

McGahan posted about his can raising endeavor on social media earlier this week and the response has been very positive. He parked his truck to collect the first batch of cans this week and came home with a truck bed full.

If the turnout continues to be positive, he said he’d like to continue the idea and find other organizations and projects to support.

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