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Saving tabs to save lives

EMS Raze students ‘pay it forward’

March 2, 2013
By Beth Christian Broschart Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Elkins Middle School students have found a way to "pay it forward." Raze club members have designed and made containers to collect two everyday items that are being used to help support programs.

"The students want to provide service to others, and they have made collection boxes for every classroom in the school," said Raze advisor Amy Lambert. "Students want to help collect silver pop tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, and plastic pop caps to donate to the Dialysis Unit in Morgantown."

Collections have been great, and the students have been gathering the tabs and tops since October. Raze is making two containers for each classroom, and ones for the common areas in the school.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Students at Elkins Middle School are working to collect silver pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Pictured with their collection boxes are Kelly Vandevander, Richard Leitner, and Chad Burnheimer, Hunter Mouse, Jared Reel, Vanessa Collette and Tracie George.

Seventh grade student Vanessa Collette said she has collected more than 30,000 silver pop tabs by herself.

"People at Walmart in Elkins have helped me collect these," Collette said. "I think it is a great idea to help others, and especially help those in the hospital."

Elkins Middle School principal Rich Carr saw some of the students doing this community service, so he asked to make the effort a school-wide project. Raze members assembled, decorated and placed the collection containers throughout the school, and the students keep bringing in more tabs.

Fact Box

Pop tab fun facts

Approximately one million pop tabs would equal 800 pounds

1,430 pop tabs equal one pound

Approximately 63,360 pop tabs equal one mile

Plastic pop tops are gathered and donated to the dialysis unit at the West Virginia University Hospital. Each tab provides two-minutes of dialysis for those who cannot pay.

The silver pop tabs are donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown. Elkins Middle School instructor Kelly Vandevander delivers the tabs. Vandevander has a special place in her heart for the Ronald McDonald House.

"My daughter Isabella was born Oct. 14, 2010, 10 weeks prematurely," Vandevander said. "The services that the Ronald McDonald House provided were priceless."

Vandevander said she was at WVU Hospital two months prior to Isabella's birth.

"Once Isabella was born, the Ronald McDonald House provided us with lodging, food and showers for free," Vandevander said. "The memories we made bonding with other families staying there really helped us get through that time. Many other families were in the same situation as us and we all became like family to each other. And the Ronald McDonald House does not turn people away. If folks just need a hot meal or a place to take a hot shower, the Ronald McDonald House is there to serve."

Vandevander said she is glad the children at Elkins Middle School want to give back and have such a sense of community.

"These kids are great," Vandevander said. "I am proud to be a part of Elkins Middle School."



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