ELIZABETHTOWN - Elementary students at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School are reaping the benefits of a small contribution from the community that made a big impact.
Thanks to their participation in the Box Tops for Education program, the school was able to raise more than $500 to put toward some new playground equipment for students in grades K-5.
Elementary teacher Deborah Egglefield, who coordinates the box program at ELCS, said students, parents and other adults all contributed to the collection of box top labels, which appear on the packaging of hundreds of different food items and household products.
The tiny cardboard pieces can then be redeemed through the General Mills company, which gives 10 cents to participating schools for each one collected.
Led by advisor Deanna Brown, National Honor Society students at ELCS helped trim the coupons and prepare them for collections in April and October. Altogether, they submitted more than 5,000 box tops.
Though the funds for the program can be used for any type of school expenditure, Egglefield said playground equipment was chosen since it is often a low priority for the school budget and some of the existing equipment was in dire need of replacement.
"I asked the kids what every one of them wanted," said Egglefield, "and we made a list."
An overwhelming majority asked for new balls to use on the playground, and so the order for dozens of new footballs, basketballs, and soccer balls was approved. Also, two small PVC soccer nets were purchased to replace a worn pair of metal ones.
In addition, several local individuals and businesses donated puzzles, blocks, and coloring books for when recess is held indoors.
The equipment arrived early last week, and students have been enjoying using the new balls ever since. On March 17, they got their first chance to play with the new soccer nets.
Often reminding children at recess to keep bringing in their box tops, Egglefield hopes the new equipment will encourage more contributions to the box top program in the future.
"I think this makes it very real for them," she said.