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Mission for a Million: Sandwich teen collecting pop tabs for charity

SANDWICH – Zoe Vicich wants people to think twice before tossing their pop tabs.  

Vicich, 14, hopes to donate one million pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House Charities so families will have a comfortable place to go while they are caring for a child in the hospital.

It’s a goal she’ll need a little help to hit.

“If more people get involved, I can get there,” Vicich said. “But if I collect 10 pounds a year, I’ll have to do it until I’m 80.” 

The Sandwich teenager has donated 44 pounds, or 62,000 tabs, since she started collecting as part of her 4-H project four years ago.

She collects tabs from friends, family and members of her church, the Federated Church in Sandwich. St. George Greek Orthodox Church of DeKalb recently donated a pound of tabs to the cause.

Each June she donates the pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House Charities where they are used toward the charity’s family rooms or houses. These facilities give families that have children in the hospital a low-cost place to eat, sleep and regroup without having to go home.

Ronald McDonald House recycles the tabs and uses the money to pay for the overhead costs to run the facilities.

The charity reports that more than 4,000 families worldwide use family rooms each day while more than 8,000 families use the charity’s houses.

“It makes me feel good because I know people are using the facilities,” Vicich said. ‘They don’t have to travel or spend money on food or extra fees. It helps families and allows them to have more time with their kids.”

Vicich said a lot of research went in to picking out which charity she would support. She’s visited the family room at Edward Hospital and the house near Loyola Medical Center.

Zoe will continue the project through 4-H for several more years. She hopes the pop tab collection will pick up in that time so she can more quickly reach her one million tab goal.

Pastor Don Ridder said his 200-member congregation at the Federated Church has been very eager to help Zoe. He said often church members will reach out to other organizations they’re part of and return to church with baggies full of tabs. 

Ridder’s impressed to see a young person so dedicated to something that will help others.

“This is a perfect example of being caring and being Christ-like to those around us,” Ridder said.


How to help:

To arrange a time to donate pop tabs to Zoe's cause, email her at

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