Box tops can bring big bucks to schools

It can be something as simple as tearing off a portion of the box of cereal or other product, but it can mean the world to a school.

Local schools are welcome recipients of the Box Tops for Education program, and at 10 cents each, they can add up to make an impact.

Hoglan Elementary School in Marshalltown is in the middle of a big push to collect box tops. Its parent teacher group Team Hoglan, has raised $500 in box tops over the past few weeks as part of this effort.

“They are products that lots of people use every day, so you either throw it away or you get to use the money,” said Leah Stanley, a parent of two students who leads the box top program at the school for Team Hoglan. “The schools need the money, and it makes everybody feel like they can make a difference.”

With the money, the school plans to purchase new books for a classroom reading program and save up for a new preschool playground in the future.

“We work with the teachers and (principal) Mrs. (Amy) Williams to determine where that money should go,” Stanley said.

West Marshall Elementary School is also big on collecting box stops like several other area schools. Fliers are sent home to parents regularly reminding them to collect the tops, and teachers also lend a hand.

The school in State Center collects more than $2,000 worth of box tops annually, said first grade teacher Tara Pfantz. That’s more than 20,000 box tops each year.

“It’s amazing how many box tops we get,” Pfantz said. “It’s great how many families participate in it. It really helps us a lot.”

The money is then transfered to the parent teacher organization fund at West Marshall, which helps pay for student field trips and prizes for students who win competitions such as reading contests or a contest to collect food for the local food pantry.