Bagley RNA chapter collects pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House

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Members of the Bagley Royal Neighbors of America chapter are shown in the Bagley Community Building with their collection of pop tabs and $100 donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Pictured (seated, from left) are Birdie Meng, Ruth Timion; (standing) Nancy Rogers of McDonalds, Donna Harris, Diane Leffler, LaVon Schurman, Bob Meng, Bobbi Jo Meng, Lacey Meng and Dareen Schott. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Here is the pile of pop tabs collected by the Bagley RNA chapter.

By Correne Martin

Collecting pop tabs might seem trivial, but for Ronald McDonald House Charities, collection is taken very seriously.

The Bagley chapter of the Royal Neighbors of America received an informative presentation about the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, Minn., at its February meeting last week. Nancy Rogers, who has worked for the La Crosse McDonalds chapter for 30 years, explained that pop tabs are collected at the local stores, put in French fry boxes, packaged, labeled, weighed and recycled.

The designated Ronald McDonald House then receives the cash made from the recycled aluminum tabs, per pound. That income is used to pay salaries for the care physicians living at the house and to help families dealing with the stress and financial difficulties of being away from home.

“They really try to make the place feel homey,” Rogers said. “Volunteers cook meals. They also try to get the things on people’s wish lists—things they might have at home that they want at the house.”

The idea behind Ronald McDonald Houses is that families are stronger when they are together, and their presence helps a sick child heal faster and cope better. While no one can make medicine taste better or take away painful treatments, these houses and sponsors can help lessen the burden and ensure families have the stability and resources to get and keep their child healthy and happy.

Typically, the Rochester house is at 100 percent capacity 10 months out of the year. According to Rogers, who works for Courtesy Corporation of La Crosse owners Rick and Wendy Lommen and Dick and Sherry Lommen, the Rochester Ronald McDonald House plans to expand its facility to double, if not triple, the amount of families who can stay there.

This past year, the Lommen family purchased the Wisconsin Dells market, which means they now sponsor the Madison house too.

In addition to a load of pop tabs the Bagley RNA chapter contributed to Ronald McDonald House Charities last week, they also provided a $100 donation. The chapter has been collecting pop tabs for years; the project is led by member Donalean Harris.

“I’ve really worked hard at it,” Harris stated. “Also, my son collected some from a campground during the summer and kept them for me.”

“If I go somewhere and I have a can of soda, I can’t leave without taking my pop tab off,” added member Ruth Timion. “We believe it’s a good cause.”

Rogers shared her appreciation with the 12 chapter members at the meeting, pointing out that tabs from canned goods can also be collected for the effort.

In 2014, the pop tab program raised nearly $18,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

For more information about how you can get involved, visit www.rmhmn.org.

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