Cupboards full of money for schools

Published 8:35 am Monday, September 22, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell – news editor
Brewton area residents might be hiding money for schools in their cupboards.
Local schools are encouraging people to save box tops from a variety of products under a reimbursement program that can help return money to the classroom.
The General Mills Box Tops for Education program allows consumers to contribute 10 cents each time they collect specially marked box tops to be redeemed by participating schools.
Brewton Elementary School, W.S. Neal Elementary School and Pollard-McCall Junior High School all benefit from opportunities that lay in cupboards and pantries across the community.
Tonya Young, coordinator for W.S. Neal Elementary School, said the program has been a great benefit for the students at W.S. Neal Elementary for the past several years.
Specially marked packages carry the Box Tops for Education symbol eligible for redemption. Products range from every day items including Huggies diapers and wipes as well as cereals including Cheerios, Chex and Cocoa Puffs. A complete list of eligible products is available at the Box Tops for Education website and local schools.
Box top coordination is done through each school's parent-teacher organization, which provides an opportunity to help with materials and teacher needs that aren't covered by funding from state and local budgets.
The Box Tops collected can be found on packaging from products found in just about any home, Webb said.
Funds raised by box top collection are given to the schools as cash with two disbursements each year.
Each year, PTO officers listen to teachers and administrators at their school to determine what needs won't be met by their budget, Young said.
Webb said her school is setting a goal to help get Elmos in the classrooms for teachers to use in instructional situations. Elmo is a nickname for a projector that can be used in the classroom to display images from a variety of sources. The pricey teaching tool is a dream item for teachers at the school.
With statewide education budgets expecting a shortfall in funds next year, the first areas cut are usually extras. Webb said finding local and donated funds to offset those budget losses has become more difficult in recent months.
Young said this fundraiser won't cost anyone any money and can add up to provide so much for the schools, students and teachers.
Webb and Young said they have collection points in their own home to save up their Box Tops.
Webb said the collection of the Box Tops only takes a moment and can mean so much.
Both schools plan to place collection boxes at area grocery stores to make contributions easy for everyone.
Young said anyone who wants to make a Box Tops contribution can also drop their collection off at the school at any time.
For those who have access to a computer and the Internet, a Web site has been set up to register as a Box Tops member.
Young also said there are sweepstakes and contests on the site regularly as well.
Along with W.S. Neal and Brewton elementary schools, Pollard-McCall Junior High School also participates in the Box Tops collection for their school, Webb said.
To find out more about Box Tops collections and the products the symbol can be found on or to register, visit

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