Collecting pop tabs;helping families

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SLOCOMB, Ala. (WTVY) -- Some people collect coins, others collect art but, Slocomb Elementary students are collecting pop tabs, to help children and families with long stays at the hospital.

It's safe to say the Mcgowan family is very well-known in the Slocomb community.

"I grew up with Meghan and Matt Mcgowan, went to school with them at Slocomb High School," Jessica Seay said.

"They are my husband's best friends and I had the privilege of teaching Molly in 1st grade and now I have Mattie," Ashlee Merritt said.

Their son, Coy was born with an unknown liver disease and premature at 29 weeks, weighing only one pound.

"He was very sick in the hospital and we had to stay at the Ronald McDonald house for 3 months and they provided us food and a place to stay," Coy's sister, Molly Mcgowan said.

In Coy's honor... family, friends and loved ones wanted to find a way to help.

"A large part of the junior beta club is about service and giving back. Each year they hold a drive in Coy's memory so the junior beat club along with all the elementary school student's host a drive if different toiletry items and soda pop tabs," Jessica Seay, 5th-grade teacher at Slocomb Elementary said.

The pop tab program at the Ronald McDonald house helps provide extra revenue, as a way for families to afford nights at the hospital.

"The tabs it helps them pay their power bills and all of that stuff we didn't have to pay for," Mcgowan said.

Every year around the time Coy was born, the Mcgowan family goes back to the place that helped them.

"To go in his memory of when he was born and passed away," Mcgowan said.

And the town comes together to honor him.

"It's important to give back and teach that but at the same time this community just pulls together, even if we don't personally know them your heart reaches out to them and you want to do all that you can to help them even if it is giving your pop tabs," Ashlee Merritt, 1st-grade teacher at Slocomb Elementary said.

To show the legacy he made in just the short time he was here.

"The legacy he left and that we carry on is just huge, it's amazing that our Slocomb family comes together and just the things that are shown. The compassion and the kindness, as well as the donations but just the love that is shown is amazing," Seay said.

The Mcgowan family travels to Pensacola every year to deliver the donations.. Giving back to the Ronald Mcdonald house that once helped them.

This year Slocomb Elementary raised a total of 310,415 pop tabs which is equivalent to 244 pounds.