Tiny toddler puts fingers to metal to help hospitalized children

Special to Leader-Press

Her eyes fly open wide and a huge smile spreads across her face when she sees a pop tab, the metal flap used to open aluminum cans. Tiny Miss Five Hills Isabella Cross gets excited and understands clearly when she sees the silver tabs that she is to collect them. What the toddler may not understand is what a life-long impact she will have on hospitalized children and their families. 
Isabella, who was crowned the winner of the Tiny Miss Division of the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant in March, is supporting the Ronald McDonald House as her platform of service during her year-long reign, said Isabella’s mother, Ashley Cross. 
“I chose this platform for her because I want to increase awareness for the Ronald McDonald House and how it supports families at a time that they need it the most,” Cross said. “Each year, the Ronald McDonald House serves millions of children and their families at little to no cost. The non-profit organization provides a home away from home so families can stay close to their hospitalized children, allowing them to focus on their children’s health rather than bearing the weight of everyday life necessities.” 
The pop tab program is a productive way for family, schools, organizations, and businesses to come together to show support by simply recycling. The funds generated from recycling aluminum are 100 percent donated to help offset the expenses of the Ronald McDonald House. 
“I became passionate about this platform because it allows my one-year-old a chance to give back and play an active role in our community. Collecting pop tabs is a great way to teach children about philanthropy and the importance of recycling while raising funds to help children and their families at the same time,” Cross said. “For the last five months, we have promoted and advertised the pop tab collection through social media and flyers. We have set up containers at local businesses, schools, military organizations, and civic centers and collected pop tabs at events.” 
Isabella’s goal is to collect 60,000 pop tabs, an estimated 50 pounds—three times her body weight of 17 pounds--by next March when she will crown her successor. She and the Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty will deliver the tabs to the Ronald McDonald House in Temple to support families with children hospitalized in the McLane’s Children’s Hospital.
“Pop tabs are so easy to collect and store. But before you get started, I have to warn you. Once you began collecting pop tabs, you’ll never be able to toss one away again. It’s the most rewarding habit you’ll ever have,” Cross said.
If you are interested in having a container to collect pop tabs at your business or have tabs you would like to have picked up or drop off, please email fivehillspageant@gmail.com.

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