Master pop-tab grabber brings 100,215 to Globe Park Elementary

Master pop-tab grabber brings 100,215 to Globe Park Elementary

WOONSOCKET - Every couple of years, Dan Begnoche gathers the containers from his garage, dozens of re-purposed coffee cans and over-sized snack jars, and makes the trip to his granddaughter's school.

Inside each sits hundreds of "pop-tabs," aluminum rings collected from the tops of beverage and food cans. The tabs will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Providence, a nonprofit focused on improving the health of children and families.

Since 2006, when Globe Park Elementary School first started collecting the tabs, Begnoche has been the school's largest contributor, bringing in some 100,000 tabs every two years.

The rings are recycled, bringing in cash for the organization at a current rate of 70 cents per pound. According to the organization's website, Ronald McDonald House collects only the tabs, because they're more sanitary and easier to store than whole cans. In 2012, the tabs raised nearly $3,000 for the Providence location.

Most Woonsocket schools run their own version of the pop-tab program, but according to school Principal Robert Desrosiers, Begnoche takes the charity to a new level.

"Many schools do it, but I've never seen it to this extent, because of Mr. Begnoche," said Desrosiers.

At first, granddaughter Rachelle Coley would carry the aluminum rings into school, but Begnoche was gathering them at a rate that quickly made that delivery method unpractical.

On Thursday, he brought in his latest contribution: piled up tabs totaling 100,215. Begnoche keeps a running tally of the aluminum rings, generally averaging several thousand a month, and calls the school to make a deposit once he hits the 100K mark.

"I drink a lot of Diet Pepsi," he joked.

He would need to drink a lot of soda to generate 100,000 tabs, and Begnoche says the truth is, friends, family and neighbors help with the cause. Among those he credits with collecting the rings are his wife, Roselind, and brother Roger Begnoche, and Claire Leighton,

"People collect them for me," he explained, adding that his brother has an 85-year-old neighbor that drops a bag of the tabs off at his home every Sunday.

Desrosier said those who would like to save and donate their pop-tabs are welcomed to drop them off at Globe Park, or another school in the area.

"I will transport them down to Providence," he said.

It takes 1,280 pop-tabs to make one pound and the Ronald McDonald House of Providence hopes to collect 10 million this year, generating more than $5,000 to help pay for expenses at the facility including food and medical treatment.

If even a few donors collect as many Begnoche, the goal shouldn't be hard to exceed.