Some Lansdowne Middle School students spent their Sunday at Hillside Mall but they were not shopping. They were collecting old batteries, but not just to recycle them. These young volunteers are trying to save lives. “Inside a battery there’s a substance called zinc and in developing countries some children don’t get enough zinc in their diets ,” said volunteer Siena Brandstaetter. Zinc deficiency is a global health challenge that affects two billion people world-wide. Every year, more than 450,000 children die from complications of zinc deficiency. Abigal Marson is volunteering to help these kids. “There are so many kids suffering and we really want to help,” said Marson. As part of their ‘Me to We’ leadership club, these girls are collecting as many batteries as they can get. Student Naya Strohschein says the process is simple. “They get sent off to the bottle depot and then they send it to Call2Recycle and the zinc gets taken out and put into tablets and they save children’s lives.” Each AA battery contains contains enough zinc to save six kids and everyone is doing their part to help. This project has been in the works for months. “It took a lot of planning for sure, and a lot of work but I feel it was worth it,” said volunteer Kendal Hartwig. “This is just a really good opportunity to help so many children in need.” Kendal’s grandfather Gerald Hartwig is excited to see the younger generation becoming more involved in the community. “I think helping out in the community is vitally important and when you have kids jumping in it’s great. It’s a great sign for the future,” said Hartwig. “It’s an incredible cause. I had no idea that zinc saves lives.” They collected more than 4,250 batteries, which is enough to help 25,000 kids. They are hoping their foray into philanthropy will inspire others. If you would like to donate and recycle your batteries, you can still bring them to a recycling depot like Canadian Tire, London Drugs or the Bottle Depot, or visit ‘Call2Recycle‘ on the web or in Victoria.