SEK Recycling seeks donations for match campaign

Jonathan Riley
SEK Recycling in Pittsburg, which has faced financial struggles for years, is asking for the public's help this holiday season in the form of donations to a two-to-one match fundraising campaign.

PITTSBURG, Kan. — With Christmas approaching and 2020 drawing to a close, Southeast Kansas Recycling, Inc. is aiming to hit an ambitious goal in a two-to-one fundraising match campaign.

In a letter to SEK Recycling board members Dec. 13, SEK Recycling Fundraising Chair Nancy Scott and Board Chair Jim Triplett announced that an anonymous donor had offered the recycling center $10,000 on a two-to-one match.

“This means that every $10 you give is worth $30! That every $100 you give is worth $300! That every $500 you give is worth $1500!!” Scott and Triplett wrote in the letter. “We are very excited! As you know, the commodities markets have fluctuated this pandemic year, often altering the income that our recycling center so desperately relies on! With the help of these additional funds, we will begin 2021 with operating funds needed for NOW!”

SEK Recycling is encouraging its supporters to donate to the fundraising campaign in any amount. Donors who give $50 or more will be given membership status for 2021. Checks should be made payable to: Southeast Kansas Recycling, P.O. Box 1965, Pittsburg, KS 66762. Donations can also be dropped off at the SEK Recycling Center, 615 S. Joplin, Pittsburg.

Already as of Dec. 13, Scott and Triplett noted, the recycling center had received donations totaling $1,300. On Saturday, SEK Recycling Operations Manager Jerry Babcock said in an email to board members that donations had reached an all-time high of $1,931 for one week.

“It is most remarkable that that happened,” Scott said Monday, adding that SEK Recycling had also heard from the owners of Toast in Pittsburg about the possibility of the restaurant hosting a fundraiser event for the recycling center in January.

Scott said that even if SEK Recycling reaches its fundraising goal, it will continue to accept donations and offer 2021 memberships to those giving $50 or more.

“We only have to raise $5,000” to reach the full $10,000 match amount, Scott said, “which is still a lot because we’ve never done it before.”

SEK Recycling has been struggling financially for years. In 2019, recycling center representatives approached Crawford County officials to appeal for public support, and County Commissioner Jeremy Johnson was appointed a member of the SEK Recycling board.

The county commissioners also said early this year that they wanted to work with the City of Pittsburg to arrange additional long-term support for the nonprofit recycling center. A permanent solution has not been agreed upon, however, and as SEK Recycling continues to struggle to cover basic expenses such as payroll, its board members say they are thankful to supporters for any amount of help they can give.

“The effort in the last couple of weeks has really brought out support from the community,” Scott said.