“How it all started”

Ruben, a man on the street, approached Mystery Mike Hennessey outside his home in July 2006 and asked for help. Mystery Mike would always give Ruben some financial assitance and a smile but he wasn't able to help him that day in July, he was extremely late for a job and snapped at him out of frustration....after Mystery Mike left, he wept on the 405 on his way to a job and prayed for a way to help this sweet man.

In late August 2006, Mystery Mike was introduced to the “The Secret,” through his friend, Alex Quinn. The film “reveals amazing real life stories and testimonials of regular people who have changed their lives in profound ways.” Mystery Mike watched the movie many times, and encouraged others to see it in his home. But he did more than watch the film, Mystery Mike became engaged in the teachings of the “The Secret,” and began applying it’s simple teachings – the Laws of Attraction – to his own life.

Mystery Mike Hennessey is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) and occasionally works as an EXTRA on movie and TV sets. In the fall of 2006, he was on the set of the “ER,” working as an extra, in the role of a technician. While in holding, he saw the craft services gal collecting hundreds of empty water bottles to be recycled. Mystery Mike thought: “Recycling is great, but we can do Greater! SOMEONE could really benefit from all of those empties.” Moments later, Mystery Mike walked outside the “ER” set and Mr. George Clooney drove by. The two exchanged casual waves.

Mystery Mike had thanked Mr. Clooney the day before in a note for his inspirational speech at the 2006 Oscars  (Clooney: “We're the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered…”). Mystery Mike is a 17-year Survivor (Victor) over AIDS and it was Mr. Clooney’s Oscar speech that inspired Mike to ‘come out’ of the AIDS closet. Mystery Mike’s life has never been the same since.

Immediately after seeing Mr. Clooney a light bulb went on in Mike’s head and he thought, “I can do something!”

He envisioned thousands of people all over the country handing over their recyclables to those in need, homeless or otherwise. That day, Mystery Mike began taking a few bottles and cans left by the crew and talent on the “ER” set. He also began collecting recyclables at home, to give to the needy, and shared this with his roommates who happily got involved.

Not long after, a new friend, Barbara Ali, offered to help out as well. Barbara was the very first volunteer along with Annie Word (who was with Mystery Mike that day on ER).

Mystery Mike worked on the upcoming Adam Sandler film, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry,” in later October 2006, where he played a beautiful Drag Queen named, “IMA MYSTERY”. Mystery Mike spoke with Noel & Charlie, the head of craft services. They graciously gave every empty can and bottle to the homeless in the streets of downtown Los Angeles for 7 days. There were about 500 people on the set each day, including cast and crew.

Just after “Chuck & Larry,” Mystery Mike & his life partner, Bob, hosted a wonderful ‘post-Halloween’ event at their home in Van Nuys for 80 ‘extras’ and their friends. Mystery Mike announced his idea officially for “EXTRA Cans For The Needy” and shared with everyone in the room that “Change will begin with everyone here. WE are the ones who have the opportunity to do something…no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.” Everyone wanted to participate.

Throughout November and December, John Burnhiemer, a ‘drag’ partner known as "Topsy Turvy" from “Chuck & Larry,” joined Mystery Mike many times at ‘Bob's Big Boy’ in Burbank. The two bounced ideas off one another and "RECYCLE A LIFE" was born as well as the slogan "DON'T JUST RECYCLE, RECYCLE A LIFE!"

In just a few months since the beginning, hundreds of others have joined to help spread the word on every Hollywood movie and TV set. Everyone has been so gracious with their empties, especially when they hear what will be happening to them. 

Many Thanks…

Alicia Boretz came on board to help get everything together IMMEDIATELY when she heard about the vision. Mystery Mike met Alicia through a Dr. Wayne Dyer conference, and she has been extremely amazing and instrumental in getting the whole Non-Profit process started.

Sugano, who did make-up on the set of “Chuck & Larry,” introduced Mystery Mike to Marc Modrow of marcjoseph in mid-December. Marc offered his beautiful gallery and sponsored our first Press Conference on January 31st.

Marc worked tirelessly to bring everything together, contacting the press, political & community leaders and neighborhood restaurants to get them on board and he connected EXTRA Cans For The Needy with the wonderful actress, Sharon Lawrence who came on board immediately.

Sharon Lawrence volunteered as our National Spokeswoman, and has made extraordinary connections for EXTRA Cans for the Needy that have already helped get the word out for our cause.

The Press Conference was a huge success with speakers Sharon Lawrence, Ed Begley, Jr., and his wife, Rachelle Carson, West Hollywood councilman Jeffrey Prang, Orlando Ward (Midnight Mission), and countless volunteers providing testimony about their experiences. Susina Bakery signed on as our first affiliate restaurant to donate their recyclables to the cause.

Recently, with the help of Sharon Lawrence, Marc Modrow and Nicole Landers of Landers PR, ECFTN was invited to be the recipient of all recyclables from the Global Green Pre-Oscar party at the Hollywood Avalon. Additionally, ECFTN was honored to be named one of the featured charities at The Ultimate Green Room, held at RC Green, in the Robert Craymer “All Green” furniture showroom. Both events were fantastic!

ECFTN has also had a presence, thanks to Mystery Mike's mentor and friend Dee Wallace at the AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) Oscar Fundraiser Complimentary Suites for two days before the Oscars and met even more wonderful people who want to help.

EXTRA Cans for the the Needy is thrilled to have the opportunity to make recycling a humanitarian effort. Instead of just tossing empties into a bin, everyone can help to feed, clothe and shelter their fellow man and woman. Thank you all for your support.