KVMS Ecology Club with Pop Tabs

Photo by Tom Sparks

The KVMS Ecology Club members pose with the over 150 pounds of drink tabs that were collected for the KVHS Interact Club to donate to the Ronald McDonald House.

WHEATFIELD — The Kankakee Valley High School Interact Club, a Rotary sponsored club, recently collected its one millionth drink tab to donate to the Chicago Ronald McDonald House, but they are not done yet. The group will be at the DeMotte McDonalds on Wednesday, Aug. 28 between 5 and 8 P.M., where they will be collecting, in addition to drink pull tabs, any loose change or non-perishable food items that customers would care to donate.

Additionally, the store’s owners will be donating 15 percent of their proceeds that night directly to the Ronald McDonald House.

The club, whose sponsor is Tara Kingma, started collecting tabs two years ago. In June of 2018, the club turned in 700,000 tabs in Oak Lawn, Illinois. According to Kingma, they were told that that amount was the most ever turned in in one day.

The club, continued collecting this past school year and gathered over 300,000 more to reach the one million mark. For reaching that pinnacle, the club was awarded a plaque that now hangs in the entryway to the house.

The Interact Club was aided this year by some younger Kougars as the KVMS Ecology Club held a contest between the various advisories to gather the most tabs by weight. The top advisory class in each grade received an ice cream treat for each student as a reward. Two classes gathered more than 25 pounds of tabs. All together, the middle school gathered up over 150 pounds of tabs.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities, whose motto is “Pulling Together to Make A Difference,” recycles the nearly pure aluminum tabs and uses all funds raised to offset the cost for parents and family of seriously and critically ill children to stay near the hospital where that child is being treated. Families, through the program, can stay for as little as $10 per night, a cost improvement over the normal cost of a downtown hotel. Additionally, trained staff and often meals are provided to assist the families.

The Interact Club would like to thank the community for its support so far but also looks forward to seeing as many people as possible on Aug. 28.