NEGAUNEE, Mich., (WJMN) – The Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council and volunteers are working to sort cans that were donated toward getting the Vista Theater ready for winter.

Cans were collected for two weeks outside Super One Foods in Negaunee and the produce stand on US Hwy 41 across from the National Guard Armory in Ishpeming. From Monday, October 19 to Friday, October 23 they will work to sort the cans so that they can be returned to the distributors.

Eliisa Gladwell, PAAC board member, says they have a lot of cans to sell. The Vista Theater annex building is nearly full, along with several trailers behind the building.

“The community was wonderful and donated an overwhelming amount of cans to our can drive to raise the roof and now we get to start the fun part of sorting,” said Gladwell. “We have to sort by distributors and then we have to count them as we put them into bags.”

After sorting and counting the cans, they will go back to the distributors in exchange for the deposits. Gladwell says it could take a few weeks to sort and count.

“This is a really slow process actually because we’ve got a jumble of cans and we need to sort them by eight different distributors plus a miscellaneous group and it sounds like they got about eight to ten bags done yesterday,” said Gladwell. “I heard it was about $250 worth and we’ve got bags and bags and bags and bags and bags left to go.”

They don’t have an exact idea of how many cans and bottles they have yet, but Gladwell says she is a full believer there is $15,000 if not more of value in returnables.

“We’re going to be sorting for the next couple weeks here probably longer than that depending on how many volunteers we can obtain,” said Gladwell.

Two others joined Gladwell Tuesday, October 20 for the sorting event. Morgan Armstrong says she is a part of Superior Edge at NMU and came to help because it is a neat community project.

“It sounded like a fun way to get some volunteer hours in and it was a really neat community project so I was excited to come out,” said Armstrong.

Gladwell says they are slightly over halfway to their goal of $100,000. The cans are being stored and sorted in the annex building next to the Vista Theater. To volunteer, you can sign up through a link in their event on Facebook.

Another way to contribute is by purchasing a t-shirt from 1844. Other local businesses have also been donating and helping fundraise as well. All opportunities to donate or volunteer can be found on the Historic Vista Theater / PAAC Facebook page.