Amanda Plourde scans the aisle for one special item when she visits the grocery store.
“We have gummies upon gummies because they have Box Tops,” said the Lisbon mother of two. “We have Progresso soup that we don’t eat because it has Box Tops. We started buying a new brand of eggs because they have Box Tops.”
“Yeah, it’s an addiction in my house. A bad one, but it’s good,” Plourde said.
Box Tops are the small coupons attached to hundreds of grocery items. Schools across the country collect them and earn 10 cents per coupon from Box Tops for Education.
Plourde is not alone with her enthusiasm. She belongs to the Lisbon Community School Parent Teacher Organization, a group of parents that holds meetings on Friday nights and heads to the dump Saturday morning.
“It’s called we have no life,” said Pamela Shane, PTO vice president and mother of a fourth-grade daughter.
“The things we do for our kids,” said Chrissie Maney, a Lisbon mom who is happy to dig through your trash if it means earning 10 cents for her kid’s school. “This is money,” said Maney as she picked a Progresso soup can from a Dumpster. “Ten cents for each one. This is great!”
Once per month, volunteers with the Lisbon PTO visit the transfer and recycling center in Lisbon Falls in search of Box Tops, pull tabs, Coca Cola reward points, Campbell Soup labels and returnable bottles. “Dumpster diving divas,” said Maney as she kindly offered to empty bins of cardboard, tin cans and plastic for people on a recent Saturday morning. “We kind of had to come up with a cool name for it so we have been calling ourselves the diving divas,” Maney said.
“Diving for Box Tops” has payed off. The PTO collected 573 Box Tops, 670 pull tabs, $20 worth of returnables and 356 Coke reward points during their March and April visits to the dump. “We are doing pretty good even though people think we’re crazy doing this,” Shane said. “We will take every penny we can get,” she said.
Collecting Box Tops has earned the Lisbon Community School $4,192.83 during the current school year, enough to put the school at the top of the list for schools collecting Box Tops within a 25-mile radius of Lisbon and fourth overall in the state.
The money funds extras that are not covered in the school budget, Maney said. “We do all kinds of things through the PTO.” Family events every month, field trips, the “fifth grade farewell,” shirts for the drama club and staff appreciation week are all funded by PTO fundraisers, Maney said.
“They are just the most committed hard working people,” LCS principal Carlene Iverson said about the school PTO. “They are a group of very involved parents, who find a great balance between selling products and fundraisers that do not require parents to spend money.”
“I am so thankful to have them,” said Iverson, who along with Assistant Principal Ryan Patrie joined the divas at the dump one Saturday.
“The philosophy here is whatever it takes,” Iverson said.
(c)2012 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)
Distributed by MCT Information Services