The first of what I hope will be many more envelopes hit my desk this week.
It contained nearly two dozens box tops andndash; those pink and white "tags" that adorn the packaging flaps of thousands of food products that can be found hiding in the kitchen cupboards of homes throughout Brookings and Harbor. (Thanks, Karen!)
Alone, each holds little value, easily discarded with the household waste. But gathered in copious numbers, box tops can generate hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars for our local elementary school.
We all have them, and members of the Kalmiopsis Elementary School PTO want them andndash; loads of them!
Last year, the PTO collected and submitted enough box tops to earn $2,700, said Melanie Rutledge, the PTO's Box Tops coordinator at Kalmiopsis.
"We were in the top five or top 10 schools in Oregon," Rutledge said.
The money, which went into the PTO's general operating account, was used to meet teachers' requests for classroom supplies and for playground equipment, she said.
During the last two years many Pilot readers dropped off envelopes and plastic baggies full of box tops at the Pilot office for me to deliver to the school.
Kalmiopsis gets 10 cents for each box top and can earn up to $80,000 (more on that in a minute).
Rutledge has set this year's goal at $3,500.
I think this community can raise much more than that. After all, this is the same community that, a few years ago, cast enough online votes to help Kalmiopsis win $100,000 in U.S. Cellular's "Calling all Communities" Internet contest.
Collecting box tops will be a piece of cake compared to the efforts made in that contest. People simply clip the box tops from the food products in their home and drop them off at school. And you don't have to have a child in school to help out.
Meanwhile, the school will continue to ask students to collect box tops at home and bring them to school. At the end of each month, the box tops are counted and the class with the most earns a party with cupcakes, cookies or popsicles. A pizza party is awarded at the end of the school year to the class that turns in the most.
It's a great lesson for sure!
According to the website www.boxtops4education.com, where you can track each school's points, the Box Tops for Education program was founded in 1996 by food giant General Mills.
There are more than 250 Box Tops for Education brands, including Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Kleenex, Huggies, Ziploc, Hefty, Juicy Juice, Avery, Welch's and Land O'Lakes.
The collected box tops are sent to General Mills, which mails back checks to the schools. Kalmiopsis can earn additional money when people get box top credit by participating in a variety of online promotions, sweepstakes and games.
Clipping box tops or going online andndash; it's just so darn easy! There's already a container on my kitchen window sill where the Graves family will deposit box tops.
So how about it, people of Brookings and Harbor? This is my challenge to you: Check your cupboards, clip those lonely box tops and send them in!
If it's more convenient, you can drop them off at the Curry Coastal Pilot office, 507 Chetco Ave.
I'll do the rest.