Donation provides lodging at Ronald McDonald House
By Scott Bellile
Their actions may have felt close to effortless.
But community members, just by ripping pop tops off their aluminum cans, helped New London schools donate nearly $4,000 to the Ronald McDonald House.
New London Intermediate/Middle School students and several New London High School students rode a bus to Milwaukee Thursday, May 19, to cash in three years’ worth of soda can pull tabs – approximately 1.8 million weighing 1,400 pounds.
Sixteen students delivered the pop tops directly to United Milwaukee Scrap because there were too many boxes and bags for the Ronald McDonald House to store.
United Milwaukee bought the pop tops from the students for 68 cents per pound (a $1,941 donation to the Ronald McDonald House), then doubled New London’s donation with a match of its own.
“It feels awesome, just that we got to give so much,” sixth-grader Alexis VanHandel said.
The proceeds will offset living expenses for people staying at the Ronald McDonald House. Ronald McDonald Houses offer lodging to families of sick children staying in a hospital.
The charity asks guests for voluntary donations but waives overnight costs if families can’t afford them. A family’s stay may range from one night to several months.
The Pop Tops Committee has been collecting tabs since middle school teacher Erika Wilson helped students form it 15 years ago.
In March 2015, then-Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Scott Tolzien and retired Packer Tony Fischer visited the middle school to congratulate students for making it to 1 million pop tops at the time.
New London High School freshman Keegan Krause returned to his former school to watch the same pop tops he collected a couple years earlier turn into money for the Ronald McDonald House. He said the middle school students have exceeded the committee’s past goals.
“I think the kids have really gotten into it here,” Krause said. “They’ve continued it and met what we hoped to get in three years in one year.”
Wilson said although New London Intermediate/Middle School spearheaded the effort, it’s really the kids, parents and community members outside the school who made the donation possible.
“I’m elated. I’m so proud,” Wilson said.
“How cool is it that we as a city can come together and do it? I think it’s neat,” she added.