Almost every time we go to visit my mom, she hands one of the kids a Ziploc filled with pop tabs and scraps of paper. No, it isn’t some kind of funky craft project, it’s her way of supporting the schools. Without kids in school, I think it’s pretty awesome that she’s found a way to continue to make a difference without even impacting her budget. Today, I’m hoping that she can be an example for other people on how they can show their support. (Thanks, mom!)
There are a number of redemption programs that offer incentives to schools simply by meeting certain criteria. Here are a handful of the programs common to most districts. The best part is that they don’t require any commitment other than sending the label, tab or UPC to the school instead of to the garbage or recycling can.
Way back when I was a kid, we actually removed an entire box top from our box of cereal and turned it in at our school. While I don’t know exactly when the program started, I personally recall this box top ritual when I was in 3rd grade. Back then, you accumulated the top to cereal boxes then the school turned them in to purchase gym equipment. Boy has the Box Tops For Education program come a long way since then. No longer do you need an entire package, but merely a small square that you clip and send to the school. Most are worth 10¢ each and that adds up pretty quickly when you have an entire school collecting. They also offer bonuses for online shopping, special promotions throughout the year and cover a variety of products for a number of participating brands.
It’s a bit of a misnomer because most people call it “Campbell’s Labels for Education” and it really isn’t. There are more than Campbell’s products participating. Bic, Swanson, V-8, Pepperidge Farms are among the growing list of places where you can find these labels that translate to cash. The point value on the label varies based on the size and cost of the product. As with the Box Tops For Education program, there are a variety of ways to earn points to support the schools including clipping UPCs, eLabels and bonus programs. One of my favorite bonuses was simply using their pre-printed collection form to affix my UPCs.
Just like with Labels for Education and Box Tops, simply clip and save the Project A+ labels then your school can redeem them. There are a number of participating Tyson products that participate in this program so if you’re already buying the products, why not help out the school in the process?
Milk Caps for Cash
Do you drink milk? If you do then you could be supporting your local schools with the cap! This is one of those programs that is more of a regional or local thing than national. As a result, it isn’t as widely publicized. The next time you purchase a jug of milk, check the cap and see if there is any reference to a Milk Moola, Caps4Cash, Caps for Your Cause or some other milk cap program.
Have you ever sat and fiddled with your can of pop until the tab came off? Did you know that some schools and charities collect those otherwise meaningless pieces of metal as a fundraiser? That’s right. That little piece of metal plus another plus another can add up to some big cash. Once upon a time, there were rumors that such tabs could be cashed in for minutes on a dialysis machine, but that’s not really the case. Our school has an empty water cooler container that kids dump pop tabs into all year long on behalf of other charities such as Ronald McDonald House. It isn’t that the tabs have some magical conversion value, it’s simply a matter of quantity. The metal is recycled and scrap value. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s another way for the kids to learn about charitable giving.
Many grocery stores offer eScrip donations where a portion of your purchase goes to a charity of your choice. Our local grocery store provides a card that I have scanned each time I visit. It doesn’t cost me anything except a few seconds in the checkout line while I wait for the cashier to scan it. Even Target offers a program to support the schools. Who gets the benefit? The school or charity of my choice.
The biggest point I want to make is that these programs are free to both the consumer and the school. The only commitment from the consumer is gather the labels and caps or using the cards while the school is in charge of handling the redemption process. Whether you have children or not, these school redemption programs are a great way to give back to the community.
Do you send labels and UPCs to the school for redemption?