By David Yarger
Co-Host “The Chase”
Friday morning, “The Chase” crew delivered its first Cards Matter live on the air. Cards Matter is a program by Dave & Adams that donates to collectors and hobbyists in times of need.
An article on the D&A website describes Cards Matter as “Cards Matter is our initiative to help show support to the family members within the hobby at the times when they need it the most.
In this series, you will hear stories of individuals within the hobby that have struggled with adversity in some way. Cards matter was created to bring positivity to those individuals and to truly show the support that surrounds them within this great community. We all have so many different reasons for what the hobby means to us.”
Friday’s Cards Matter involved Greg Poole and his brand Can’s Can Ministries. According to their website, “Can’s Can is a Southern Illinois ministry focused on improving the lives of those in Southern Illinois. We use sports cards and memorabilia to fund our social projects. Our fundraising model abides by the 100% model, in that 100% of all money raised through sales goes directly to local assisted living centers, classrooms and students.”
Over the years, Can’s Can, which is housed in Benton, Illinois, has raised and donated over $300,000, supported over 230 classrooms in 62 school districts, support foster children in four counties, donated over 900,000 sports cards, runs a twice-weekly senior meal delivery program, runs a free teacher supply store, started Christmas present delivery service for the elderly, host a yearly bike giveaway, provide job training to individuals with special needs and much more.
Poole said he grew up with eight to nine cousins who were all collectors before him and that’s where he really acquired a love for the hobby. He said he focuses mainly on baseball, basketball and football, but has dove into other realms of the sports world as well.
“Can’s Can is a program I started about 20 years ago,” Poole said. “I just looked around and found a lot of needs in our community and really as a 16-, 17, 18-year-old the only real currency that you have at that point … was ball cards. So I really took to selling those at shows and shops and then flipping the money and using that to help out our community.”
Can’s Can currently has two stores, one being a fundraising booth and then another as a retail store. The second shop contains school supplies for teachers and students, as well as needs for social workers such as diapers, formula and more.
Poole said Can’s Can would love to continue expanding based on the needs of the community.
“Just as an example; I think our local school district runs at about an 85% poverty rate. So there’s a whole bunch that we do with that. We do a whole bunch with foster kids, buy them beds. So obviously, we have a need to expand, but the tricky part of that is 100% of what we stock is my personal collection that is funded by me. We don’t take any money back for that. That’s all paid for by me,” Poole said.
By the end of the interview, D&A Director of Community and Athlete Relations and head of the Cards Matter initiative Chris Bandura entered the set to surprise Poole with some great news.
“Greg, thank you so much for everything you’ve been doing with Can’s Can and everything you do in the community there,” Bandura said. “On behalf of Cards Matter we want to help your inventory, so we are going to be donating over $10,000 worth of product to you. We’re going to be shipping that over to you, so hopefully you have some room!”
Poole was grateful for the gesture sent by Cards Matter and said, “We welcome you to the family. We appreciate that so much. Sometimes we wonder how we’re going to open the doors the next day and this goes a long way to keeping us going.”