Voters Say Middle School Recycler Is 'Doing The Most Good'
Sam Klein, who raises money for charities by recycling ink cartridges and other stuff, got the vote in our recognition program with the Salvation Army.
Sam won our "Doing the Most Good" recognition program, jointly run by Patch and the Salvation Army Midland Division. We wanted to give readers a chance to recognize someone in the community who they thought was "doing the most good" — and give them a little reward for their work.
Sam, who won with 60 percent of the votes cast, and his family win an overnight stay at the Moonrise Hotel in the Loop, a $50 gift card toward a dinner and two tickets to a show at a St. Louis-area venue.
He's already received recognition for his work, as featured on NBC Nightly News last June.
Here's our mini-profile of Sam:
Sam Klein: Turning Trash to Cash at age 12
Sam Klein has had an interest in how trash and garbage works since way back — when he was 4 years old. Now, at age 12, the young entrepreneur has made his passion for the stuff we toss a fundraiser. The seventh-grader at Parkway Northeast Middle School runs a recycling charity called InkCycle, and raises hundreds of dollars for charities in the community.
"I used to help the garbage men load trash into the trucks when I was 4," Klein said. "Mom didn't know. When I turned 5, they threw me a party."
The Creve Coeur boy's business proposition is simple: He'll collect your empty, discarded computer ink cartridges — along with laptops and cellphones. He works with providers he's identified that will pay him cash for the discards that he has collected. Then he donates those proceeds to places like Ronald McDonald House and the American Heart Association.
"Sam never ceases to amaze me. He is selfless in his efforts to help those in need," said
Kimberly Brandon, principal at Parkway Northeast. "I love celebrating all the wonderful things Sam does for our community."
Klein doesn't stop there. He's also run what he calls "service days," where he'll identify charities, print up fliers that list what they need from donors, and hands them out to customers at Dierbergs. Customers can buy the goods and leave them with Klein, or just give him cash. He's recently given $200 to Ronald McDonald House, $550 to St. Patrick's Center and $330 to Peter and Paul Community Services.
"At 12 years old, he puts us oldsters to shame. Sam is visionary, kind, committed and relentless," Dan Anderson-Little, pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in University City.