STERLING HEIGHTS, MI. - Every day when Shell Jones comes to the Play Place Autism and Special Needs Center in Sterling Heights, several bags of bottles and cans are waiting for her.
Jones started a returnable drive to help her no-profit get through the coronavirus pandemic.
The center has several features including a hair salon, laser light chalk room and much more. It's also jones' labor of labor of love. The inspiration? Her son Duane who has autism.
"We cater to families affected by special needs," Jones said. "All ages all cognitive levels and disabilities. The biggest reward is being able to commune with these families like mine that we can share stories, share therapies and know you're in it with others and people do care."
Jones is worried about making ends meet while the center is shut down, but when she started the returnable drive in May, the community didn't disappoint. Boxes of boxes of bottles and bags of cans now nearly reach the ceiling.
"We were having to come to the building every day during COVID to bring the bottles back to the warehouse and were like wow it's really filling up," She said.
Jones believes they've raised at least $30,000.
"It was just another full blown community effort," she said. "I love Sterling Heights and the surrounding communities. They've always been a loyal part of what our mission is and that's to include and support these families."
Now as Jones recently reopened, she's thankful for the community who's making it possible to continue her calling.