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Two brothers collect bottles and cans to buy Christmas gifts for families in need

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Eight-year-old Bradley Venus and his seven-year-old brother Link have had a busy summer collecting and gathering bottles and cans in their Kingston East neighbourhood.

Their father, Mcpl. Michael Venus, says it originally started because the boys wanted to clean up garbage in the area they live in near CFB Kingston.

“I taught them the stories of what I used to do growing up in London collecting empties,” said Michael Venus.

“They were like, ‘Oh, it’s worth money — what can we do with it?'”

The two brothers, with the help of their parents, settled on the the Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain campaign.

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“For kids in need for Christmas that don’t get presents for Christmas,” said Link.

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The boys’ goal of raising $1,000 was quickly exceeded, so they decided to try and double their total.

“We’re hoping to hit it. Tomorrow they will count after school how much they’ve raised,” said Sarah Venus, the boys’ mother.

Whatever that final total is, it will be double again thanks to a neighbour.

“A realtor in the Greenwood community, Martin Ouellet, is a veteran and he is willing to match the $2,000 when they hit the 2,000 mark,” said Sarah Venus.

Read more: Kingston to allow parking tickets to be paid in toys as initiative returns

The Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain website states a $100 donation buys gifts for two children.

If Link and Bradley reach $4,000 with the match, that would be 80 children in the region with gifts under their tree this Christmas.

That thought put a smile on the faces of Bradley and Link.

“Excited and happy,” Link and Bradley Venus said almost simultaneously.

Link and Bradley’s spirit of giving isn’t ending with Christmas. The two entrepreneurs plan to cash in on residents’ New Year’s gatherings by collecting the bottles and cans from those get togethers and they are contemplating making their efforts an annual event.