Garrettsville – Anna Brigham is a freshman at James A. Garfield Schools who is not a typical teenager. She is active in her church, on the Garfield bowling team, bowls youth bowling, merit roll student, a contestant in Garrettsville Idol and collects pop and beer can tabs. She loves kids and would do anything to help a child. Anna was about 13 years old when she first learned that just by saving pop tabs she could help kids. When Anna first started saving the tabs, she wasn’t exactly sure how they helped kids but started saving them anyways. She started taking tabs off every pop/ beer can she saw and before long had enlisted the help of family members. Friends who hung around her started helping her as well and in two years, she was able to collect over 30,000 tabs.
Anna had learned about The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) at Akron and decided that was where she would donate her tabs. Last week Anna turned in approximately 30,000 tabs to RMH in Akron. The tabs were recycled, with the proceeds going to RMH.
Ironically, the two years she had been collecting she never figured that her collection would have such an impact on her family. This past February Anna’s parents, Kenny and Carrie Brigham, spent some time at the Ronald Mc Donald house when their baby was born and required surgery. The Brigham Family experienced firsthand how the Ronald McDonald house works and what it was.
RMH was established January 13, 1985 with the help of Akron Children’s Hospital. RMH has very few paid staff and is run mostly by a staff of volunteers. The 125 volunteers in 2010 have logged in 11,500 hours. The volunteers–with the help of their largest corporate sponsor, McDonalds’–are what make RMH work and helps keep costs low. The facility gives families with ill children a place to stay to be near their loved one while receiving treatment at Akron Children’s Hospital. RMH can house a family of four for $10 a night. The house offers meals for the family, showers and a place to sleep and rest during the time their child is seeking treatment, all for $10 a night. If a family is unable to pay, they can mail in the fee later or stay for free.
Many volunteers staff the house, from cleaning the facility to maintenance and laundry. They also have civic groups or families who sign-up take care of dinner each night for those who are using the facility. The Akron house has room for 20 families and the rooms can be reserved if you know your child is having a procedure. The house is opened 365 days a years and all the food is included in your $10 a day per family. Families who are unable to pay can stay there for free.
How is this possible? There are several ways that this can happen. The pop tab collection is one way; many volunteers and their largest corporate sponsor, McDonalds, are other ways they can operate as they do. The McDonalds Corporation has raised over 150 million dollars worldwide for RMHs around the world. Volunteers keep the house running smoothly. Visit www.rmhakron.org for more information on how one can help.
RMH, Akron started the pop tab collection program in 2009 and since that time they have collected over 5200 lbs of tabs. Pop/ beer tabs are pure aluminum and generally they receive about $.45 – $.60 a lb. The tabs are recycled locally and the generated funds go toward house improvements. Recently RMH purchased a computer for the residents to use and a Bose Wave radio for the dining room, all from recycling the tabs.
Anna is committed to the cause and is placing containers around town for those who would like to start saving them. Right now there is one at Skylanes Bowling Alley and the Renaissance Family Center in Windham. Soon there will be one at the Eagles Club too. If one would like a container to start saving them or have some saved you’d like to donate to their cause, you can contact the Brigham Family for more information 330 235-4542.