On March 29, Donna Maxwell, a Life Care Center of Palm Bay resident, received a surprise banquet in honor of her contributions to the Ronald McDonald House of Central Florida’s pop tab program.
For more than five years, Maxwell has collected pop tabs, the small aluminum tabs from all kinds of cans, from the facility’s dining room during each meal. According to Kathy Rowe, director of social services who helps Maxwell deliver the tabs, Maxwell has collected and donated more than 60,000 pop tabs while at Life Care Center of Palm Bay.
When Barbara West, an advertising executive with the McDonald’s corporation, heard about Maxwell’s donations, she felt that Maxwell deserved recognition. West coordinated with Life Care Center of Palm Bay and the Ronald McDonald House of Central Florida, and had a group from the Ronald McDonald House surprise Maxwell with gifts and a ceremony in her honor. Maxwell’s family and friends attended the ceremony, as well as Life Care residents and associates.
“I felt like I was going to have a heart attack, I was so surprised and honored,” said Maxwell.
The pop tab program involves the collection and donation of pop tabs to a Ronald McDonald House. Next, the tabs are taken to be recycled and are exchanged for money, which goes to support the children and families served in the Ronald McDonald Houses. At the Central Florida location, the pop tab program has raised more than $263,000 since 2002.
Besides her natural desire to help others, Maxwell has personal reasons for being a part of the program.
“I had some friends in Ohio who the Ronald McDonald House helped significantly,” said Maxwell. “I’m glad to be able to help the House here as they help other people. Also, I just enjoy collecting them.”
Maxwell will continue collecting tabs and working to help others in her community.