Several Sunset Drive businesses will joining forces in a Saturday scrap metal drive for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital led by a 10-year-old entrepreneur undergoing leukemia treatment at the Memphis hospital and its affiliate clinic in Johnson City.
The Junkin’ for St. Jude drive will be held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in the parking lot of the Landmark Shopping Center, located at the corner of Knob Creek Road and Sunset Drive directly across the street from Mahoney’s Outfitters.
A large collection container from OmniSource metal recycling will be located in front of Best Uniform Center, and those who chip in their scrap donations will receive their choice of one of several special offers from the nearby Nest Interiors & Gifts, Cranberries, Gems and Whims and Dunkin’ Donuts.
The drive is being led by Luke Barnes, a young but seasoned businessman who began recycling metal for fun and profit for more than a year ago. In February, Luke and his family turned his project into a fundraiser for St. Jude, where he is undergoing treatment for leukemia, and have since raised more than $16,000 for the research and treatment it provides to children all over the world regardless of their families’ ability to pay.
“I’ve met a lot of kids going through rough times in the last year,” Luke said. “Junking is a way I can help them.”
“God’s been in it, because we never dreamed we’d get the response we’ve received from everyone, from ladies at church who save their cat food cans for us to a gentleman who owns a gas station who gave us a canopy that he had to cut off and replace,” his mother, Beth, said.
Inspired by Luke’s and his family, businesses at the corner of Sunset and Knob Creek Road will be working together Saturday to add to his contribution. Their Junkin’ for St. Jude choices include a 20 percent discount on an entire purchase from at Nest Interiors & Gifts, a free donut at Dunkin’ Donuts, a free cup of coffee or 20 percent off one item at Cranberries and 20 percent off any non-consignment item or 10 percent off any repair at Gems and Whims.
Mahoney’s has also given a donation. Several area schools are saving metal cans from the cafeteria for Luke’s drive. And Westminster Presbyterian Church, Trinity Arts Center, Mountain Empire Surgery Center, First Choice Pediatrics and Boones Creek Christian Church are all serving as collection sites for Junkin’ for St. Jude.
Luke’s friends at OmniSource, whose television ads inspired his salvaging efforts in the first place, are also in on the effort and have set up an account called “Luke Barnes for St. Jude” through which anyone may bring their scrap metal to their location at 110 Perma R Road and have its value credited to St. Jude.
Suggested donations include aluminum cans, pans and foil, steel food and pet food cans, copper wire of any sort, large and small appliances, old lawn mowers, farm implements and tools, guttering and metal siding, metal fencing materials, small motors, transmissions, radiators and even old vehicles.
“Luke is excited about this collection,” his mother said. “He sees this as another opportunity to help give back to St. Jude for all of the care he has received there.
“We are very grateful to everyone who has helped and donated so far and we are especially grateful to God, who has blessed Luke with a good prognosis and favorable response to the treatments.”
The OmniSource collection container will remain open for donations at the shopping center through Sunday.