Smile Politely

The Least You Can Do – Box Tops

If you’re anything like me, you fight a constant battle to keep yourself from eating all of the awful and ridiculous things that you want to eat every day. One of the ways I do this is to try and keep only relatively healthy foods around the house. This way, when I am drunk, I no longer have the option of eating an entire bag of pizza rolls. One easy thing to have around is a massive amount of granola/snack bars. I go through tons of boxes of these. Awhile back, I noticed that a lot of them had the clippable Box Tops on them.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, The Box Tops program is run by General Mills and nets schools a dime for every clipped Box Top that they turn in. Seems like a silly, tiny amount, sure; but since its inception in 1996, it has kicked out about a half a billion dollars to schools. You can argue all you want about how the education system is flawed and how disappointing it is that we need programs like this to put more money into schools, or how we shouldn’t be incentivizing certain less-healthy products — that’s a perfectly valid conversation to have — but at least this program is doing something. 

Those of you with school-aged kids are probably very familiar with this program, as you may have had a child come home with a quota of Box Tops needed to turn back in to the school. Or maybe you’re a friend of folks with school-aged children and you yourself have been roped into something similar. But I’ve been surprised by the percentage of people who seem genuinely surprised that they could clip these things and help out with no strings attached.

Here’s what I do: Put a Ziploc bag or an envelope somewhere in the kitchen (stick it to the fridge with a magnet, say), and any time you encounter a Box Top, clip it and drop it in the baggie. (You don’t need the whole Box Top — just the little Box Top symbol.) You’ll find these Tops on anything from the aforementioned granola-bar boxes, cereal boxes (the usual General Mills fare), but also things like toilet paper, Hanes under-apparel, and Avery binders. Check this link for a list of items. Occasionally, compile these and mail ’em off to a school. Any school. Think your old elementary or high school could use a little extra cash? There you go. Read about something awesome that a local school or local student did? Mail them to the school care of that act or that student. Or pick a school at random. Likely the more rural, the more they could use the help.

There you go. Minimal effort; helps others.

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