Gathering at Direct Deposit Redemption Center Jan. 21 to raise awareness about collecting pull-tabs for Ronald McDonald House charities, are (front) Aubree Parker, 6; (rear): Cassandra Rausch, Kristin Burch, Ann Lloyd and Brooke Ackley.
Thousands of times per day in the region, someone pulls a ring on a beverage and soup can — to enjoy a beverage or perhaps a serving of soup.
For months, hundreds of people in northern Warren County are deriving some extra enjoyment from this ritual — they’re collecting the pull-tabs and donating them to charity.
For decades, Ronald McDonald House Charities has been collecting these clever, convenient devices, invented in 1962 by Ermal Fraze of Dayton, Ohio. The various Ronald McDonald chapters through the U..S. collect the pull-tabs and receive cash from metal recyclers for their high-grade aluminum content.
In northern Warren County, Ann Lloyd of Warrensburg has spearheaded a drive to collect the pull-tabs for Ronald McDonald House in Albany.
For the past several months, Direct Deposit Redemption Center in Warrensburg has teamed up with Lloyd in her venture.
Lloyd was inspired to start her fundraising campaign following her experience with Albany’s Ronald McDonald House.
About six years ago, her granddaughter Aubree underwent cranial surgery at Albany Medical Center, and her parents, Carrie Lloyd and partner Christopher Parker, stayed at Ronald McDonald House, virtually for free. Various area restaurants catered meals there for parents on a vigil while their children were undergoing operations or other medical procedures, Lloyd said this week.
“It’s awesome what Ronald McDonald House in Albany does for people,” she said.
Although Lloyd was a regular cash donor to Ronald McDonald House, in fall 2011 she decided to shift her approach.
“I realized I couldn’t contribute monetarily forever, and I read about how Ronald McDonald House was collecting pull-tabs — and I knew I could conduct a drive to collect them,” she said.
Lloyd recruited the help of Dean Ackley of Direct Deposit, and he set up a five-gallon jug as a collection vessel in his redemption center.
Several months ago, one delivery by Lloyd of 120 pounds of pull-tabs earned about $100 for Ronald McDonald House, Lloyd said.
“People started bringing in pull-tabs by the jug, by the bag and box,” she said. “The drive just mushroomed.”
Dean Ackley said that people from not only northern Warren County, but Hamilton County and southern Essex County have been stopping in lately and contributing pull-tabs to the drive.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “We’ve even had people come in with their pull-tabs from Indian Lake.”
Lloyd said the charity accepts pull-tabs from soup cans, tennis ball containers, pet food, and juice cans.
Direct Deposit employee Cassandra Rausch said that the pull-tab drive was a painless way to help others, because it was a matter of collecting something that would otherwise be discarded — rather than requiring people to part with their hard-earned cash.
”It’s easy for people to drop off their pull-tabs,” she said. “They’re coming here to redeem containers anyway.”
Brooke Ackley, also a Direct Deposit employee, agreed.
“Ann Lloyd’s idea is great,” she said. “Anything we can do to help out, we’re willing to do.”