The aluminum beverage container pull tabs collected by Fresno State students in sororities and fraternities will enable 40 families to spend a night of rest near loved ones who are patients at Children’s Hospital Central California.
Students representing the Kappa Alpha Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Gamma organizations at California State University, Fresno donated 80 pounds of pull tabs to the Central Valley Ronald McDonald House for recycling. The value will be matched by Clovis Recycling.
The donation was presented Tuesday, May 24, by the students and two kindergarteners at Nishimoto Elementary School in Madera, who embraced the project because their teacher is a Kappa Alpha Theta alumna.
The collections began after Kappa Alpha Theta alumna Rosemary Waters told the sorority how her son and daughter-in-law stayed at the Ronald McDonald House at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital while awaiting the birth of their daughter, Meghan Elise, who was diagnosed with spina bifida during pregnancy.
Their stay continued after Meghan’s birth when she had surgery to close the opening in her spinal column.
“What started out as a small request to help a charity that has so greatly affected my family, turned into a large Greek Project,” said Waters. “This program truly gives meaning to the phrase ‘a little goes a long way.’”
Because pull tabs are easy to collect, virtually any individual or organization can collect them, said Hannah Johnson, marketing manager for the local Ronald McDonald House. The tabs are recycled and revenue collected pays costs of 100 nights that families can stay near their sick children.
“It is always wonderful to see young people embracing their community and the people that live in it,” Johnson said of the Fresno State students’ efforts. “One of the best parts of my job is seeing a project spark, watching people take hold of our house and work to keep it in operation.”
After Waters’ appeal in fall 2010, Kappa Alpha Theta began collecting pull tabs in two-gallon containers. The effort was extended Fresno State’s other Greek organizations, which installed their own collection containers. Early in 2011, pupils at Nishimoto Elementary began their own collection at the urging of teacher Lezlie Hemman, president of the Kappa Alpha Theta facility corporation board.
After their presentation, the Fresno State students and Madera kindergarteners toured Ronald McDonald House and met families helped by the pull-tab program.
The Ronald McDonald House near the Madera hospital accommodates 18 families at a time. They make a nominal donation that can be waived if the family is unable to pay.