The Washington Times-Herald

April 10, 2013

Family donates 500,000 pop tops for Ronald McDonald

Lindsay Owens
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON —

Joe Dant has collected and counted pop tabs for over two years. With the help of his head organizer and father Frank, Joe counted out the tabs in groups of 10, then groups of 100 tabs before dropping them into storage bags each labeled with the total number in each. Joe and Frank’s way of counting has become like second nature but the counting has ended. Joe, who will turn 55 years old on April 13, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year and is no longer able to do many of the things he used to enjoy like jigsaw puzzles, sending out holiday cards and counting pop tabs, but that does not mean the counting efforts were all for nothing.

Joe and Frank delivered about 500,000 tabs to the Washington McDonald’s last week. Those tabs, which weighed an estimated 551 pounds, will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House of the Ohio Valley in Evansville. The tabs will then be taken to Material Recycling, Inc., in Evansville where they will be officially weighed. A check for the tabs will then be sent to the Ronald McDonald House. Currently, the price for the aluminum tabs is 55 cents per pound. That means Joe’s tabs are worth about $275.

"We are extremely grateful to Joe for the long lasting hard work and tremendous dedication that it took to support such a worthy cause. The residents of Daviess County are some of the biggest users of the Ronald McDonald house in Evansville, Ind.,” said Wally and Deb Nowakowski, owner/operators of McDonald’s.

“Counting all these gave Joe something to do and he really enjoyed it,” said Frank. Joe, who is small in stature, was born of normal size, but rapidly began losing weight after his birth. He spent three months in a Memphis hospital before doctors sent him home. It was determined that Joe had problems with his pituitary gland and at the time there was not much that could be done. Nearly 55 years later, Joe has overcome the odds.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley serves over 1,000 critically ill children as well as their families annually. The facility, which opened on January 18, 2010, is equipped with 10 bedrooms that include televisions, private bathrooms and other amenities. Also included in the building are three community kitchens, as well as a play room, game room, and family room. Families of sick children stay at the Ronald McDonald house either free of charge or for a small fee of up to $25 per day depending on the facility. No family is ever turned away if it is not possible to pay.

Without community support and donations, free or low cost accommodations would not be available to those families in need.  One of the most popular ways the charity is funded is through the collection of pop tabs. People of all ages can participate in the collection of the tabs.  The pop tabs can be dropped off at your local McDonald¹s for donation to the Ronald McDonald House. 

For more information on the Ronald McDonald House in Evansville, visit their website www.rmhevansville.org.