Student strives to meet pop tab goal for charity
June 22, 2012 2:30PM
Alex Caraynoff (left) and his family participated in the Southwest Airlines Plane Pull to raise money for Ronald McDonald Houses. | Submitted photo
Updated: July 26, 2012 6:07AM
Alex Caraynoff is still hoping to reach his goal this fall of collecting 6.1 tons of pop can tabs to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.
While his creation, Pop Tab Dump Day, is still a few months away, it’s early enough for residents and businesses to start collecting their tabs and adding them to Alex’s stash to help him get closer to that goal.
Pop Tab Dump Day will be Sept. 22 at Lion’s Park in Minooka, so mark it down and start saving tabs.
Alex, a Minooka High sophomore this fall, began his Pop Tab Pandemonium benefit drive last year to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House.
While he fell short of his original goal, he managed to collect 2.5 tons of pop can tabs. That’s not bad for a first try when you consider it’s actually 5,000 pounds (5,600 pounds if you live in the United Kingdom and use the long ton reference).
Alex’s big sister, Kaitlyn, is the reason behind his drive to raise money for the charity. Kaitlyn sustained a brain injury when she was 10 and has undergone 57 brain surgeries to relieve pressure that causes seizures, headaches and vision problems.
When he was in seventh grade, Alex took it upon himself to collect personal items to give to people who stayed at Ronald McDonald House. It was his first benefit for the charity.
Alex thought of it because during his own family’s first stay, his mom, Kelly, had to run out to the store because they didn’t think to bring some toiletries. When a child is very ill, it stinks to have to go shopping, she said.
After that stay, Alex decided he wanted to do something to help other families going through similar crises. So he collected toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and cheap razors, put them in brown bags and decorated each bag himself.
Alex was awarded the Prudential Spirit of the Community Award for creating the personal care product bags. It would be the first of three he has been presented with since then.
Last year he started collecting pop tabs and to get the community involved, Pop Tab Pandemonium. By the end of Pop Tab Dump Day last fall, he had collected the 2.5 tons of aluminum to be recycled.
The most pop tabs ever collected for charity has been six tons — so it’s fitting that Alex’s goal is 6.1 tons.
Alex’s pop tab charity is taking on a life of its own. He has picked up a sponsor this year, Rexam, a global consumer packaging company. Rexam has donated containers that have been placed in businesses around town so employees and the public have a place to take their tabs.
Rexam also donated $1,000 to the cause because Alex has recycled the most aluminum in the state for charity.
A storage shed has also been donated so pop cans can also be collected for recycling.
Alex was presented with his third Prudential Award at a Minooka High School board of Education meeting in May.
While he appreciates the publicity, his real goal is to focus on raising money for Ronald McDonald Charities to help other families and his sister at the same time.
So start collecting those tabs. Put them in baggies, put them in jars or put them in boxes. Cans and tabs can be dropped off at McDonald’s and both village halls in Minooka and Channahon, and at Kid’s Korner Day Care and Citizen’s Bank, both in Minooka.
If you don’t drop them off beforehand, bring them to Pop Tab Dump Day on Sept. 22 at Lion’s Park.
As a community we can all be a part of helping Alex reach his goal of 6.1 tons of aluminum tabs, which in turn will help many sick children and their families find just a little more comfort when they are away from home.
Reach Kris Stadalsky at