Local residents ‘pop tops’ for Ronald McDonald House

Published 9:15 am Saturday, April 29, 2023

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Timothy Dillard of Red Level collected 7 gallons of aluminum pop tabs to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House for the fast food establishment’s annual Pop Tab Pandemonium Day next week.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama is a non-profit that is able to keep families together and near to the medical care their child needs through three major programs. Those programs are the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham, two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, and the Happy Wheels Cart. The Ronald McDonald House provides a supportive atmosphere for families and their children who are receiving medical treatment at Children’s of Alabama, UAB, or other area hospitals. They provide guest families with all the comforts of home and a local support network to focus on their children’s healing.

“This program goes out to area schools and teaches school children about recycling and charitable organizations. They learn what it means to give back to the community, and that’s what makes it so exciting. We do this every year and are the Southeast host in Montgomery. Everyone is saving these pop tabs, and we are here today to thank those who have been saving pop tabs and donating them to their area McDonald’s. They will be weighed at the party, and one check will be presented to the Ronald McDonald House from all the giving,” Murphy Family Restaurants Director of Marketing and Community Outreach Eddie Byrd said.

This year’s Pop Tab Pandemonium Day will be held on Wednesday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at a McDonald’s location on Atlanta Highway in Montgomery. Pop tabs may be dropped off at any Murphy Family Restaurants establishment, including the Andalusia location, for Byrd to collect for the event.

According to Byrd, a single pop tab is 1 inch long, and 1,280 tabs are needed for 1 pound. One hundred and thirty-six pounds of pop tabs will house a family for one night at the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham. Nine hundred and fifty pounds will house a family for a whole week.

Dillard said collecting the tabs was an easy way to help others.

“I got started collecting tabs during the pandemic. I worked at home and wanted to give back,” Dillard said.

“I can’t wait to weigh these and see how many Timothy has saved. We will see how many nights he is going to enable families to stay for free and to help their families heal,” Byrd added.

Another Covington County resident, Billy Johnson of Andalusia, provided the non-profit organization with 200 gallons of pop tabs earlier this year.

The Pop Tab Pandemonium is a school-based contest held each year throughout Alabama. Participating schools collect pop tabs throughout the school year and donate them to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama.

There were 2,188.61 pounds collected across the state with 658 pounds at the 2022 event.

A total of 1,447 families have stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham so far in 2023, including 533 families from the 12 counties affiliated with Murphy Family Restaurants.

“Our French fry distributor gave a penny per pound of French fries we purchased, so they gave $29,465.26 in our name. We bought over 2.9 million pounds of fries in our 30 McDonald’s. We donated $14,916.96 from our Penny per Happy Meal program, which we sold over 1.4 million Happy Meals. We are proud to continue to support our community and give back to the Ronald McDonald House since we have so many families stay there when traveling to Birmingham for medical care. It is important to be able to give back to our own community, and Mr. Murphy’s generosity allows us to do this,” Byrd said.

Andalusia McDonald’s Assistant Manager Mandi Tompkins has been employed by Murphy Family Restaurants for 15 years. She is one of 98 employees at the local establishment.

“We have a wonderful group of people that work for the Murphys in my store. I started at the Enterprise store as a cashier and absolutely love my job. I couldn’t ask for better people to work for,” Tompkins said.

For more information about pop-tab recycling, visit rmhca.org/poptab.