Youngster’s can ring collection to help others

Most people collect things because they want to keep them.

Emily Leichtenberger’s collection was intended to be given away.

It took the Sheffield 9-year-old about seven months to fill a five-gallon water bottle with aluminum pop tabs.

Then, she had to find a worthy cause.

On Monday, she carried the 23-pound jug into McDonald’s of Warren.

“She’d been looking for a venue to donate them,” her grandfather, Dan MacDonald, said. They know people who have taken advantage of Ronald McDonald House Charities’ facilities that provide housing near hospitals for families of hospitalized children.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh will sell the tabs to be recycled. That aluminum, according to the Ronald McDonald House web site, is “pure aluminum.” The aluminum in the rest of the cans is largely recycled material.

Leichtenberger would not even venture a guess as to how many tabs were in the bottle.

According to the web site there are about 1,267 tabs in a pound. Leichtenberger’s 23-pound bottle, allowing for less than a pound of bottle, contained about 28,000 tabs.

“That’s a great accomplishment, especially for someone who’s only nine,” Swing Manager at McDonald’s of Warren and Ronald McDonald House Donation Co-Chair Destiny Campbell said.

“I’m a proud grandpa,” MacDonald said.

According to Campbell, the Warren McDonald’s had received about 65 pounds of pop tabs since spring of 2013 until Leichtenberger arrived on Monday.

Campbell presented Leichtenberger with a framed certificate for her efforts.

While Leichtenberger gathered many of the tabs personally, she also served as a central collection site for a community network. Family members and friends who were aware of her efforts gathered pop tabs for her, dropping them off from time to time.

Leichtenberger didn’t have much to say about the event, though she described the process of filling the jug as fun. She did not say she would start working on another donation. The effort was a time-consuming one. She described her daily input not in minutes or hours, but as “forever.”