MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The small gesture a Minnesota teenager took sparked a call to help by his entire community.
His family took the three-hour drive from Bellingham to make a special delivery — one that will help sick kids right here in the Twin Cities.
What started as a simple question at a birthday party three years ago, has evolved into 13-year-old Deric Radermacher’s quest to help others.
“She asked me what happened with all the pop tabs and she got me started,” he said.
She, would be Linda Pillatzke — a family friend who had a bone marrow transplant for leukemia.
“They told me I’d have about six months,” Pillatzke said.
She told Deric about the pop tab collection.
“I said, you know, if you pull those (pop tabs) off, they can go to help people at the Ronald McDonald house,” she said.
Deric immediately started collecting pop tabs everywhere he went.
Three months ago, his local newspaper spotlighted his project.
“After that, people read it in the paper, and it started that there were more tabs and more tabs … and one guy brought in a tub,” she said.
Deric’s special delivery of nearly 110,000 pop tabs weighed in at 103 pounds — more than half that he collected himself.
“It’s the same as seeing money come through those doors,” said Carynn Roehrick, director of Volunteers at Ronald McDonald House Charities.
The Ronald McDonald House recycles the tabs and puts the money towards its operating budget.
“Seventy cents a pound for pop tabs, so Deric’s donation will translate into just over $70 for us,” Roehrick said.
Families who use the facility can stay free of charge.
So these donations, large or small, help keep the Ronald McDonald House running.
“It’s such a great thing to see youth in the community get involved,” Roehrick said. “It’s an easy thing anyone can partake in.”
The Ronald McDonald House collects about $3,500 each year just through pop tab donations.
“I liked it a lot,” Deric said. “It really is going to go to a good cause.”
To contribute, you can drop off your pop tabs at the Ronald McDonald House, or any local McDonald’s restaurant.