By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
If you were to take the aluminum pop tabs Madison County students collected and line them up end to end, they would stretch from Richmond to the front door of the Ronald McDonald House in Lexington.
Students from 10 county schools and the Richmond Montessori School collected 1,450 pounds of tabs. The tabs are then sold to Novalis of Berea, a company that recycles around 10 billion cans a year.
The money will benefit the family emergency fund at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass and is used to purchase groceries, toiletries, gas cards and other necessities for families who are staying at the house while a loved one is in the hospital.
The schools that collected the tabs were honored Thursday at the fourth annual Tab-A-PULL-ooza celebration. Kirksville Elementary (333 pounds) and Madison Middle (195 pounds) schools collected the most tabs for the second year in a row and both schools received cash prizes from McDonald’s of Richmond.
Teachers from the winning schools also had the opportunity to win gift cards from local businesses.
Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes asked the students to guess how many tabs were collected this year.
After several guesses, Barnes announced the schools had collected 1.8 million tabs.
“That’s what I was about to say,” one student shouted.
“That was the very reason I didn’t choose you, because I knew you knew the answer,” Barnes joked.
Novalis representatives handed a check for $1,101 to Barnes, who then handed it over to Sarah Lister, executive director at Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass. Lister is from Richmond and an Eastern Kentucky University graduate.
“I never could have imagined, when I was your age, that the community would be able to pull something off like this – literally ‘pull’ something off like this – to help a charity, and I’m so proud,” Lister said.
In the past year, seven families from Madison County stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for a total of 188 nights, Superintendent Tommy Floyd announced at the event.
Floyd then introduced Angie Kingery, whose family has spent a lot of time at the Ronald McDonald House.
Her granddaughter Amijah Kingery, 4, was born with crossed heart valves and had three open-heart surgeries before she turned age 1, she said. Her family spent the first month and a half of Amijah’s life in the Ronald McDonald House.
“It was like a home away from home, but it was better, because we had a lot of support,” Angie said Thursday.
Her granddaughter is still having problems with her heart, so the family plans to use the Ronald McDonald House in Louisville “so we won’t be separated as she’s healing,” Angie said.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at email@example.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.