Trinity student collecting soda can tabs for Ronald McDonald House

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Word spreads fast in a small community and when some people hear about others in need, they act immediately.

So was the case with Trinity fourth grader Taylor Strahan, who read about Cathedral School’s efforts to collect soda can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House in honor of student Andrew Anders, and so Strahan joined the act.

Actually, Strahan was collecting tabs before he knew about Anders, who is a patient at St. Jude’s in Memphis, Tenn., and his family stayed in the Ronald McDonald House for months while he was being treated earlier this year.

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The house recycles the tabs and uses the money to defer costs of allowing families of St. Jude patients to stay in the House, free of charge.

But, when he found out about the local family, he initiated a collection at his school &045;&045; Trinity Episcopal Day School.

And now, it has evolved into a full out contest, boys vs. girls, to see who can pop the most tops and bring in those soda can tabs.

The prize has yet to be determined completely but Lower Elementary Principal Bonnie Pearson said she is working on getting calculators and maybe McDonald’s gift certificates to fuel the competition.

&uot;I’m going to have to get bigger containers,&uot; Pearson said of the baskets that were about at capacity.

So is it a big deal to win?

Listening to the kids in the hallways Wednesday as they saw the amount of tabs they had collected, it seemed like it.

&uot;Not to me really … to the people in my class,&uot; Strahan said.

To him, it is just to &uot;help people out that need it.&uot;

Just helping others &045;&045; that is what has fueled this 11 year old to start the collection, of which he himself has contributed at least 1,000 tabs, he said.

At his mom’s work, Kelly’s Kids, he found a garbage can that was just full of soda cans to be recycled.

So, he pulled the tabs off of each and every one of them to give to the House. After reading about Cathedral, Angie said Taylor asked her to look up information on the Internet about the Ronald McDonald House, so she did.

Then, after receiving the information, they passed the word along to the school, which jumped in headfirst to start collecting. Also, his mom has her business collecting and hopes to get other businesses o start as well.

&uot;I’m trying to get it where we can get our representatives nationwide collecting them,&uot; Angie said.

This is not a new kind of attitude for Taylor, even though he is reluctant to admit it.

&uot;He’s got a huge heart,&uot; Angie said. He always gives change to the Salvation Army, to the Ronald McDonald wishing well at McDonald’s and gives his clothes and toys away to those that need them, Angie said. Taylor’s motto in life seems simple: &uot;If they (people) ever need anything and they can’t help it, give them something.&uot;