Sometime before my oldest son began attending preschool, a friend visiting our home was appalled to find empty cardboard food boxes in our trash cans. I questioned her sanity when she began yanking them out of the garbage bags.
“Niki … what are you doing?” She couldn’t be that hungry for a dried out fruit roll-up.
“You can’t throw these away, they have Box Tops on them!” she replied.
“Of course they do, they are boxes and most of the time they have tops,” I was thinking as she began ripping the lids off of them.
Little did I know I was throwing away tiny treasures on each box that are quite precious to many schools — Box Tops for Education.
Valued at a whopping 10-cents each, my son’s school has earned more than $14,000 since 2002. Wow. That loose change really does add up.
Box Tops — and Campbell’s Labels For Education — are found on many products I didn’t realize we were purchasing. Not long ago, we had no reason to pay attention to the little dotted squares on our Cheerios and Goldfish.
Now, we do. We have early school-age children and for Noah, finding a “Tox Bop” is like finding cold hard cash. He has a much keener eye for these things than I even do — catching the bonus products immediately.
“Mom! This one has two Tox Bops!”
In the grocery store fruit snack isle, Noah even opts to select (one of the few things he gets to choose) the Scooby-Doo fruit snacks over the John Deere ones because they have a Box Top. And I’m OK with paying the few extra cents if need be — after all, it’s for the good of his school.
In 2005, Box Tops expanded to products outside the General Mills product line, and in 2008 reached the $250 million mark nationwide. Obviously, I’m not the only parent who keeps a pair of scissors handy in the kitchen.
The grandparents are now in on the action, too, scanning their food purchases for those valuable little tokens.
Each school is responsible for redeeming their accumulated Box Tops and they receive payment twice each school year. Earnings are spent on supplies and necessities for the school. Not a bad little program to be a part of when many of our schools are struggling.
With one child entering kindergarten, one in preschool and one on the way, I will have to keep those scissors sharp — we will be cutting out Box Tops and Labels for Education for several more years.
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