TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Topeka nonprofit is helping families put meals on the table for Thanksgiving, free of charge.
‘One Can One Kid,’ an organization started by Topeka native Andre Banks, cashes in aluminum cans to help families in need. This time of year, Banks and his crew give back in the form of Thanksgiving dinner.
“Last year, I was moved,” Banks said. “I went to a family and gave their dinner out, and the little boys were just so excited to have a turkey on Thanksgiving.”
Banks first began his Thanksgiving campaign back in 2020. After this year’s efforts are complete, he will have given out 40 turkeys to 40 families, providing meals for 10 families each year.
He purchases those turkeys, and all of the necessary side dishes, with aluminum cans. The Topeka native makes two or three trips to the recycling center with a van full of cans to cover the costs, which he said, range between $500-700.
After he has all the necessary ingredients, Banks cooks everything with his friend Robbie Garcia, who is also on the nonprofit’s board.
“We go over to his house, that’s where we prepare all the turkeys,” Banks said. “He’s got a huge smoker, so we dress them and then we smoke them that morning and get them out hot and fresh.”
They deliver the meals to each family using the ‘Can van.’ Banks told 27 News this is one of his favorite campaigns.
He’s lived in Topeka all his life and said couldn’t imagine himself anywhere else, so supporting his community is beyond meaningful to him.
“Random acts of kindness go a long way and it becomes contagious,” Banks said. “And if I can help one person, and they can help someone else down the lines, then that’s what it’s all for.”
‘One Can One Kid’ has already connected with seven families this year, but Banks said he’s looking for three more.
If you or someone you know is in need of Thanksgiving dinner, or if you want to donate cans to his cause, you can reach out to Banks via Facebook.