The Can Man by Laura E. Williams is a perfect cousin text to books like Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Fly Away Home by Even Bunting.
In The Can Man Tim notices the homeless man gathering cans on the streets and has an idea. He too decides to collect cans... for a skateboard for his birthday. Within a week, Tim has collected enough cans to almost reach his goal, but a chance meeting with the "can man" changes everything. Tim realizes that the "can man" is more than just the homeless man who gathers cans throughout the neighborhood.
Tim discovers that the "can man" is saving money for a winter coat (not a skateboard) "before the snow starts flying." Tim learns a valuable lesson (especially when the "can man" offers his cart to Tim). He learns the differences between a "want" and a "need." Tim learns that the can man's name is Mr. Peters, who used to work in an auto body shop and in live an apartment until his life took an unexpected turn. Now Mr. Peters collects cans for survival.
This is a simple story about a boy who learns not to judge and also learns about the power of sharing with those less fortunate... he eventually gives his profit to Mr. Peters. To Tim's surprise, he receives a skateboard that Mr. Peters refurbished just for him.