Karen Cibert with the Albert Lea American Legion Auxiliary was moved to donate buckets of pop tabs to an effort to raise 1 million of them for the Ronald McDonald House. On Tuesday, she had all the tabs in the trunk of her car. -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune
Karen Cibert with the Albert Lea American Legion Auxiliary was moved to donate buckets of pop tabs to an effort to raise 1 million of them for the Ronald McDonald House. On Tuesday, she had all the tabs in the trunk of her car. -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Legion Auxiliary chairwoman donates 55 pounds of pop tabs

Published 3:00pm Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Albert Lea American Legion Auxiliary has donated 55 pounds of pop tabs to a local effort to collect 1 million pop tabs to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in St. Paul.

Karen Cibert is the chairwoman of the Legion Auxiliary’s youth committee. She said she feels she was called by God to donate the tabs.

“I feel this was something that was meant to be,” Cibert said.

On Tuesday, the trunk of her car held three five-gallon pails, one two-gallon pail and several bags, all filled with aluminum pop tabs. They found that equaled 62,700 pop tabs. Total Choice Shipping helped Cibert weigh the tabs, minus the pails.

That’s only a little more than 6.27 percent of the 1 million goal, but Cibert said it keeps the momentum going in the early part of the drive.

“This is just a good jump-start,” she said.

From people throughout the community, she and her youth committee members receive donations for Labels for Education, Box Tops for Education, Kemp’s Nickels for Schools and Milk Moolah, in addition to pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. People just leave them at the American Legion Hall.

Someone left several pails of pop tabs at the Legion Hall for the Auxiliary. Bonnie Schneider called Cibert from the Legion Hall on Monday to tell her of the donation. Cibert then went home and read a story in the Tribune about a grandmother and grandson who seek to raise 1 million pop tabs. The Ronald McDonald House, a charity that provides free housing for families dealing with the long-term stay of a child in a hospital, recycles pop tabs as a means to raise funds.

The grandmother, Jeannie Jackson, resides in Albert Lea. The grandson, Hunter Kreutzbender, is 8 years old and has hydrocephalus. He has had 12 surgeries in his young life. He and his family reside in Minot, N.D., because the father is in the Air Force, but they are closely connected to Albert Lea.

Jackson and Hunter decided to start a project. The boy wanted to help others, and the pop tab drive was born. Jackson asked the Albert Lea community to help the cause.

After reading the story, Cibert thought of her grandson, who also is 8 and likes to collect pop tabs, and was moved to donate the large amount of tabs.

She said the effort to collect 1 million tabs gave her inspiration about today’s youth.

“They may be young,” Cibert said, “but they can still make an effort in this world to show that they care.”

Jackson was pleased to hear the news. She was in Minot counting pop tabs on Tuesday with her foster children when she heard. There is a collection drive going on there, too.

“I am just overwhelmed and surprised,” she said.

Indeed, they plan to count each and every tab, Jackson said.

Cibert said she hopes to hand over the tabs to Jackson this weekend. She said people and businesses wishing to donate pop tabs to the drive can bring them to the American Legion Hall, 142 N. Broadway.