Tiny Miss Five Hills pays Ronald McDonald House utility bills

Special to Leader-Press


Many families travel far from home and spend several weeks or months to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children at McLane’s Children’s Hospital at Baylor Scott & White in Temple. It can be a long time for children to be separated from their parents and parents separated from their children. For children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having mom and dad close by for love and support. Tiny Miss Five Hills Isabella Cross and her decided to make a big difference in these small children’s lives.

Isabella chose the Ronald McDonald House as her platform of service during her year-long reign. She began collecting pop tabs for the charity in March, 2019 when she was crowned. The Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to call home so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little to no cost. Isabella enlisted the help of her royalty family as well as family, friends, local businesses and organizations which all collected tiny pieces of aluminum. One by one, they added up until the now 2-year old amassed more than 300,000 pop tabs weighing more than 200 pounds.

Isabella and her family made regular visits to businesses and clubs over the past year picking up pop tabs collected, said Ashley Cross, Isabella’s mother.

“Throughout this region, Isabella sat up collection buckets at local businesses, clubs and company break rooms around cove. At community events, we passed out flyers and collected tabs from people’s soda cans. We even picked up soda cans from the side of the road as every tab counts,” Ashley Cross said. 

The Copperas Cove Moose Lodge and Moose Riders collected tabs for two years and donated buckets and jars full of tabs. Moose Riders Past President Debbie Pomato helped load the thousands of tabs into the trunk of Cross’ car.

“This is just one of the many ways that we can help the community and if this helps Isabella’s project, than that’s even better,” Pomato said.

Isabella and the Five Hills royalty made a trip to Temple to donate the multiple containers filled with pop tabs. One by one, they dumped them into industrial-sized garbage cans where they will be held for recycling.

The tabs will be sold to a metals company and the cash received in exchange will be used to pay the Ronald McDonald’s utility bills that cost approximately $6,000 year.

“The Ronald McDonald House platform touched my heart as a mother. To have an unexpected illness with your child can never be planned. The Ronald McDonald house gives a parent peace of mind, a home away from home, leaving you to worry about nothing but the wellness of your child.

“When we first started this platform, my daughter was a year old. She could barely walk,” Ashley Cross said. ”She knew nothing about tabs, recycling or giving back to her community.  Although our year has come to an end and it’s time to crown her successor, Isabella will forever collect soda tabs. I can’t imagine throwing one away ever again and I’m certain Isabella would not allow it.”

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