The Pop Tab Story
UPDATE - MAY 1996
The Pop Tab Story began at the Elora Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, where Ray Pearse was chief steward. When he heard a rumour in early 1989 that 10,000 pop tabs could be converted into money for wheelchairs, he quickly organized tab collection. Having collected the 10,000 tabs, Mr. Pearse discovered that the wheelchair rumour was an urban myth, but he was able to find a buyer for the tabs in the recycling market. He formed the Pop Tab Committee, hooked up with Alcan in Guelph, and watched the pop tab project grow. Ray came to Ottawa in April 1992 to present 2 wheel chairs to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. At the ceremony, he met Girl Guides' Ottawa Area Commissioner, Debbie Ficner, who agreed to join the Pop Tab Committee's volunteer trucking network. Pop Tabs collected by Girl Guides and their many friends were stockpiled at the home of Norita Trottier in Blossom Park, and shipped out in thousand-pound lots. Over 2300 lbs of tabs were collected between April 1992 and June 1993.
TODAY... Guide House continues to be the main depot for Pop Tabs in the Ottawa Area, seeing several tonnes shipped every three months to Fergus, Ontario. On occasion, cases of pop tabs completely fill our shipping and receiving area from wall to wall, stacked up to four feet high! We continue to receive many calls about pop tabs, and, of course, tabs continue to arrive daily in every conceivable container. Over the past two years, the staff of National Defence Medical Centre combined with the Vars Lions Club have concentrated their efforts to raise funds to assist with the purchase of a wheel chair for a little four year old girl in the Ottawa Area. They collectively gathered tonnes of tabs, which enabled the Pop Tab Committee to purchase a customized chair for this child. These two groups are to be commended for the tremendous effort they put into raising funds.
We are delighted to report that the Pop Tab Committee is now concentrating their efforts for the 111th wheelchair to be purchased since 1989. A young man was injured in a water related accident leaving him a quadriplegic. Ray Pearse is working with a hospital in the Hamilton area to provide this young father of three children with an electric wheelchair.
THE FUTURE... Guiding will continue to support this worthwhile project as it demonstrates teamwork and community service. It would be greatly appreciated if large donations of pop tabs could be placed in cardboard boxes and well taped before arriving at Guide House.
Occasionally we hear that someone in the media has said that the pop tab collection is a hoax. We'd like to be notified of any such statements, so that we might quickly send them this information sheet. True enough, when Ray Pearse first heard the pop tab rumour in 1989, there was indeed no way to convert pop tabs into wheelchairs for people who need them.
Thanks to Ray Pearse and his Pop Tab Committee, an urban myth became reality. ____________________________________