By Melanie D.
Don’t throw away that pill bottle!
A Morris Catholic High School sophomore is asking her fellow Warren County residents to help her collect 2,000 used pill containers to donate to the Malawi Project.
A standard object here in the States (which many people just toss when empty), these plastic prescription tubes are sought in the small African nation of Malawi to help keep medicine safe and clean.
“Please remember that these containers will help families not only keep their medicine clean, but more importantly out of reach of small children,” said Molly Szpakowski, of Hackettstown, who became aware of the need a couple weeks ago and knew instantly she wanted to help.
According to the Malawi Project website, many of the country’s rural hospitals and clinics have no choice but to wrap pills in paper when sending them home with the patient. Contamination and curious hands are constant worries.
Szpakowski, a congregant at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Great Meadows, is active in volunteerism and has traveled to nearly a dozen countries, where she has gained “exposure to poverty in various cultures.” She has traveled with People to People Student Ambassadors and was “able to clean the Black Forest, pick up trash off of the beaches, visit local schools and villages, spend invaluable time with the natives, and so much more.
“I got to experience culture in its purest form and see how different, yet similar, humanity truly is,” she said.
As an aspiring doctor, she was drawn to the simple gesture of collecting prescription bottles, knowing how often they end up in a landfill and what they could instead mean for those in need: Peace of mind.
While Szpakowski hopes her collection will be an ongoing event, she is looking to collect her 2,000 bottle goal before Christmas.
Donating is easy with several drop offs in the Hackettstown area. Simply remove all labels and identifying features from the bottles and stop by the following locations for donation:
· Saints Peter and Paul Church, 360 Route 46, Great Meadows
· Saint James’ Episcopal Church, 214 Washington St., Hackettstown
· Heath Village Retirement Community, 430 Schooleys Mountain Rd., Hackettstown
· Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, 651 Willow Grove St., Hackettstown
· Morris Catholic High School, 200 Morris Ave., Denville