In 2008, Randolph-Macon Academy’s community service club, in conjunction with the Front Royal Kiwanis Club, began collecting soda can tabs on campus with the goal of raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital/Ronald McDonald House. On the R-MA campus, cheerfully decorated cups and jugs were placed in the dorms, classrooms, and offices. Throughout the school year, the community service students would occasionally collect the tabs, bag them, and put them in storage. Meanwhile, R-MA Spanish teacher and Community Service Director Stephanie Portillo would bring back the tabs collected by the Kiwanis Club.
Nearly seven years later, in June of 2015, Portillo and Kiwanis member Melanie Stull took 79.8 lbs of tabs to the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, DC, located in Falls Church, VA. The more than 30 gallon-sized bags were estimated to hold 101,107 tabs based on the weight, with a monetary value of approximately $40—and that, more importantly, translates into two-and-a-half nights for a family of five at the Ronald McDonald House. According to Rachel Taninecz, Marketing and Communications Manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, DC, stay includes “a private room, bath, meals, wifi, laundry, a shuttle to the hospital, and other comforts of home.”
The efforts of the R-MA community were notable on several fronts. “We found out that we broke their record of the longest-running campaign and we were second in the most tabs donated,” explained Portillo. However, delivering the tabs doesn’t mean the Academy is finished collecting. The R-MA community plans to begin another campaign this fall.
Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational day and boarding school for students in grades 6 through 12. Students in grades 9-12 participate in R-MA’s 91st Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and have the option to participate in a flight program. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.