Save those Box Tops. It’s easy money for schools

Date Published: 
May 27, 2016

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Box Tops like these are an easy way to get money to your favorite local school.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Box Tops like these are an easy way to get money to your favorite local school.Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it’s often found on cereal boxes.

Local schools are making easy money through Box Tops for Education and Labels for Education. People just need to clip the labels from specially-marked grocery products and drop them off at their favorite school. The box tops are redeemable for money or gift vouchers.

“You’d be surprised how much those little box tops help,” said teacher Jennifer Hitchens, who keeps a collection jar on her desk at Selbyville Middle School.

“It’s what we use for everything,” Hitchens said, such as field trips, learning supplies or holiday gift-giving for students in need.

John M. Clayton Elementary (JMC) has earned nearly $2,000 in the last four years because Box Tops for Education just sends the school a check, plain and simple.

“The awesome thing about Box Tops is that they can be used for anything for our school,” said Jan Bomhardt, counselor at JMC.

PTOs or school counselors often manage the money. JMC donations pay for T-shirts, student awards, playground equipment and more. They also buy prizes and school-store awards that children can trade for positive behavior, kindness, good grades and other actions that make the school a better place.

Nationwide, schools have received millions of dollars, thanks to several label donation programs.

By taking the time to save labels, people are proving to the donor companies that the schools are worth that money.

“It’s well worth it. It’s free money for the school,” Bomhardt said.

Box Tops are found on food products (such as those from General Mills, Green Giant, Old El Paso and Pillsbury) and home products (including Ziploc, Hefty, Kleenex and Scott). More information is online at www.boxtops4education.com.

Regular cut Box Tops are worth 10 cents apiece. Some packages also contain bonus rewards, or online codes to be registered online.

Labels for Education is a similar program by the Campbell company, although it’s coming to an end. People can keep clipping labels until they’re discontinued later this year. Schools can continue redeeming the points afterward for catalog items. Details are online at www.labelsforeducation.com.

Because box tops often have long expiration dates, people can stockpile the labels, then deliver them to the schools in bulk. All schools prefer to receive a bag or envelope of loose box tops, delivered to the main office.

Box tops don’t have to be perfectly cut — or torn — but they must still have a clearly visible expiration date and product acronym. However, schools would prefer that people remove any expired labels.

Bomhardt invites children to help sort and bundle the box tops, too, as a reward for good behavior. (“It’s also a real-life math lesson,” she said.)

“It’s a lesson on giving back … and taking care of our community and taking care of each other,” she said.

Many local schools collect box tops, including East Millsboro Elementary, Georgetown Elementary, Georgetown Middle, Howard T. Ennis School, John M. Clayton Elementary, Lighthouse Christian Academy, Long Neck Elementary, Lord Baltimore Elementary, Millsboro Middle, North Georgetown Elementary, Phillip C. Showell Elementary, Selbyville Middle and Southern Delaware School of the Arts.