Aluminum can pop tabs are tiny, but when they are collected by Georgia 4-H’ers all over the state, they can have a huge impact. This year, 4-H’ers collected more than 13,000 pounds of pop tabs, resulting in an $8,400 donation to the Ronald McDonald House of the Coastal Empire in Savannah, Ga.
Over the last 11 years, 4-H’ers across Georgia have collected enough pop tabs to raise more than $71,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities in Georgia and Tennessee.
The houses serve as homes-away-from-home for families of hospitalized children.
Georgia 4-H District Junior Board of Directors began the project in 2002, and the pop tab fundraiser has become a staple at the annual 4-H Junior Conference held at Rock Eagle 4-H Center each November. Seventh and eighth grade 4-H’ers attend the conference to learn generosity through service projects.
The top five counties in the collection project were Henry County, with 791 pounds; Coffee County, with 747 pounds; Columbia County, with 674 pounds; Union County, with 660 pounds; and Coweta County, with 642 pounds.
In addition to pop tabs, Georgia 4-H'ers collected more than 700 pairs of blue jeans that were donated to the Georgia Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries.
“This was a very fitting project since children from the home helped to collect funds to build Rock Eagle 4-H Center,” said Arch Smith, Georgia State 4-H leader. “In the early 1950s, 4-H’ers were selling eggs to raise money, and the children at the home in Baxley, Ga., agreed not to eat their eggs. They sold them and sent the money to Rock Eagle.”
This year Georgia 4-H’ers also collected 1,076 coloring books that were donated to the Children’s Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Ga.
“One of the four essential elements of 4-H is generosity,” Smith said. “As 4-H members collect pop tabs and blue jeans and participate in other service projects year round, they demonstrate their generosity by helping others.”
The public can participate in the annual pop tab collection project by taking tabs to their local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office. To contact your local office, call 1-800-ASK-UGA.
(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
(Capri Martinez is a Georgia 4-H AmeriCorps VISTA member.)
Georgia 4-H'ers collected aluminum pop tabs all year long to raise money for Ronald McDonald Charities.Download Image