Skip to content

Alberta teen collects over one million can tabs for charity

13-year-old Mason Sharp has been collecting can tabs to give to charity for the past seven years.

An Okotoks 13-year-old hopes that his impressive feat of philanthropy will inspire others his age.

For the past seven years, Mason Sharp has been collecting can tabs with one goal in mind: to donate one million to Foothills Country Hospice, a charitable organization providing end-of-life care.

"It started out in a Ziploc bag, we threw our tabs, this was in 2017," said Sharp. "And then we eventually moved to a garbage bin, and by then we had teachers at my school and people at my dad's work and friends and family helping out, and then eventually it just took off."

Sharp, who also took part in the 2024 Hike for Hospice fundraiser earlier this month, said he was inspired to contribute to hospice after his grandfather spent his final days as a patient at the facility.

​"The hospice, it's an unbelievable place," said Sharp. "I don't think anybody probably really appreciates how special that place is until, unfortunately, you have to use it.

"It's a pretty, pretty impactful place as soon as you spend anytime in there for sure." ​

The organization has been collecting tabs for a while now, said Dr. Ana-Maria Oelschig, medical director of Foothills Country Hospice. 

"They collect these can tabs that they then sell and the money goes towards wheelchairs for kids, and so people at the hospice started collecting them and having little containers everywhere at the hospice for these tabs," she said.

"And then about a month ago, I got this massive garbage bin, one of those big black ones with one million can tabs in them, from a young man who apparently had collected them for the last five years."

Oelschig said she was amazed by the feat.

"It's so rare for kids to be thinking about anything else but themselves nowadays," she said. "It's fantastic to see a kid choose to commit to something like this, right? You don't just collect a million tabs overnight."

The tabs will go towards the Alberta Elks Foundation's "Tabs for Tots" program, which sells tabs and other recyclable materials to raise funds for local hospitals.

Since the program started in 2000, over $170,000 worth of pediatric medical equipment has been donated to local hospitals.

While Oelschig does not know the exact amount Sharp's tabs will raise, she's hopeful his efforts will inspire other youth.

"Maybe some other kids would realize that doing little things matters in the world," she said.

Sharp shares that sentiment and hopes others his age will also contribute to good causes. 

"If everyone comes together and collects tabs, I think it really brings everyone together, and if we can help people that are in need of a wheelchair, it really impacts people who need it," he said.

Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel covering local news in Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips or questions about his articles, Amir can be reached at [email protected].
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks