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Tyrone parent uses box tops to help school

A mom at Tyrone Elementary thinks outside the box a lot, and she wants others to do the same to help the county’s students and teachers.

Connie Redd is not a person who is going to sit on the sidelines when she sees a problem, instead she will find a solution. Knowing that shrinking funding for education is causing her school’s budget to tighten, but that classrooms still need certain items and materials, she has taken it upon herself to adamantly promote Box Tops for Education, a successful school-based fundraising program that has helped America’s K-8 schools earn more than $300 million over the past 13 years.

Redd is a celebrity of sorts in the Tyrone community. She regularly appears on Tyrone Elementary’s morning TV broadcast, firing up student excitement with contests and prizes for those who bring in the most tops; that in turn gets students to remind their parents to clip those tiny Box Tops for Education symbols found on many everyday products that people buy regularly.

“Kids will see me at the grocery store and say, ‘I know you, you’re the Box Top Lady. I see you on TV,’” says Redd.

“Box Top Lady” has become Redd’s second name. A victim herself of the down economy and now in-between jobs, she devotes a lot of her time these days to promoting and collecting those little pieces of paper that can add up to big payouts.

Each box top is worth 10 cents. Last year the school collected $2,243 from Box Tops for Education; so far this year it has $1,945 and counting. Redd is aiming for $3,000 by the end of the school year.

Tyrone Elementary’s PTO uses half of the money to reimburse teachers for out-of-pocket expenses for their classroom. The other half goes toward buying needed items that due to budget constraints would not be purchased otherwise. Last year the art classroom received a drying rack. This year the choral department will get new risers.

“This is an easy way for people, whether or not they have kids in school, to help our educational system. It doesn’t cost anything because most branded items that people already buy are in the Box Tops for Education program. I guarantee that you have at least a couple of products in your home that have the tops,” she says.

Box tops are found on brands that most people would not think about such as Brita water filters and Avery office products. They are also on many everyday products made by Cottnelle, Scott, Hefty, Ziplock, Viva, Pillsbury, Juicy Juice, and General Mills.

Simply clip the Box Tops from the products and drop them off at the school, send them with a student, or mail them to: Box Tops Coordinator, Tyrone Elementary, 76 Senoia Road, Tyrone, GA 30290. Redd says not to worry about collecting a large number of tops at once because they add up quickly.

Other Fayette County Public Schools participate in the program as well. To get a list of schools, participating products, or more information about the program, visit www.boxtops4education.com.

Clipping box tops is not the only way to help schools earn money through the program. People can also shop online at the Box Tops Marketplace. A number of top retailers participate, and a percentage of the purchase goes to the school. Barnes & Noble gives six percent of every purchase made through the Box Tops Reading Room to the customer’s designated school.

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