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Cambridge woman collects empties for animals in need

Maddie Gardiner is donating the money she's raised from the collection of bottles and cans to Tyson N Friends pet rescue and the Cambridge District Humane Society

Maddie Gardiner has a passion for helping people.

As a nurse at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, she spends her days tending to patients in her care.

When she arrives home after a long shift, she's greeted by her other love, a German Shepherd named Rogue.

One night while scrolling through her phone, Gardiner came across an opportunity to combine that passion for helping with her love of animals.

"I follow a lot of dog rescues on Facebook and I saw Tyson N Friends," Gardiner said.

"The owner had put out a big post about how he went to the grocery store and was getting fresh fish and items for the dogs. He said it was a $500 bill for that alone. There are also dogs that need medical care and one that's epileptic and needed treatment."

The post pulled at Gardiner's heartstrings so much she decided she had to act.

Understanding the current economic times and not wanting to burden the community with a monetary ask around the holidays, she settled on a bottle and can drive with the proceeds being split between Tyson N Friends and the Cambridge and District Humane Society.

"People were brainstorming on the post of how to raise money, some were doing 50/50 draws and I knew I could do a bottle drive," Gardiner said.

"I'm not in a position to donate a lot of money but I put a post up on the West Galt and Clemens Mills street Facebook pages where my parents live."

The initial post gained a little traction from family and friends but it was a second post about a final pick up that really took off.

"I did four pick ups this past Friday night and had 10 on Saturday," she said.

"I recruited my boyfriend and his brother because my car was full."

One of her biggest donors was a local business. Her posts caught the eye of the owner of EVO Kitchen and Bar on Water Street who contacted Gardiner and filled her car with empties from the restaurant.

People have also donated treats and a dog bed that she's accepted.

With one car load left to exchange, she's excited to donate the hundreds of dollars and items she's raised.

Gardiner realizes none of her work would be possible without the commitment of the community and wants people to see how a collective effort can make a huge difference.

"I had some people say they only had one garbage bag or box, but everything adds up," Gardiner said.

"With social media, we can all come together and it makes it so much easier when everyone is doing a little bit."

To learn more about Tyson N Friends pet rescue visit

More information on the Cambridge and District Humane Society can be found at