Danielle Dalasta calls her mom the “crazy Box Top lady” and for good reason. Her mother, Jaime, is admittedly obsessed with collecting Box Tops to help out Newton’s schools.
Jaime started out as the Box Top coordinator for Berg Elementary’s PTA last year and retains the same position with the Aurora Heights PTA this year.
“We turned in 22,678 Box Tops last year,” Jaime said. “Last year, I was over at Berg (Elementary), and when I took over at Berg, I didn’t really set out to do it. The last coordinator kind of got behind and so I helped her get caught up ... and last year we were number one in the state over at Berg.. We did almost $10,000 dollars over there in Box Tops.”
Box Tops is a program presented by General Mills to benefit schools. Each Box Top is worth 10 cents and to put Jaime’s “obsession” into perspective, once she took over during the 2012-13 fiscal year, Berg collected $8,742 worth of Box Tops. During the 2011-12 fiscal year for Box Tops, Berg collected $28 according to the Box Tops website.
“It’s crazy, it’s out of control,” Jaime said before she started to laugh. “It’s easy money for the school and I don’t really like to sell things or go door-to-door to sell things and this is a very easy way to make money for the school. I’ve got my friends and family that will save them for me, I have neighbors (saving them).”
“I have posted on websites saying, ‘If you would like to save (Box Tops), I will come and pick them up.’” She added. “A lot of times, I will see them in the store and a lot of them will have double or triples on them, so I plan my menus around Box Tops.”
Danielle believes her mother lives up to the nickname she bestowed upon her.
“She’s so crazy, she round around the block on her bike looking for them in recycling bins,” she added.
Jaime said also asks strangers in the grocery store about their Box Tops and estimates she has made 25 to 30 new contacts to supply her with tops. Her passion for collecting Box Tops runs so deep, even her family’s recent Florida vacation didn’t deter her from hunting them.
“We were at the aquarium in Clearwater, Fla.,” Jaime said. “We were coming across the parking lot and I went over and saw a Box Top laying on the ground on top of a piece of garbage. I went over there and picked it up — on vacation.”
Whether you call it “craziness” like Danielle does, or think Jaime’s enthusiasm for Box Tops is a bit much, you can’t argue with the results. The 2013-14 fiscal year for Box Tops began after Nov. 1 and Aurora Heights has already raised $882.30 or 25 percent of the school’s goal of $3,500.
One reason the school is having so much success, in addition to Jaime’s own collecting, is the school-wide “Box Top Tree” competition Jaime started. The tree is adjacent to the office in Aurora Heights and it displays the amount of Box Tops each class has collected.
Jaime said the competition has become “fierce.” AH teacher Jolene Jansen’s “5J” class is in the lead and has collected 1,580 Box Tops. The competition is so stiff in fact, Danielle’s “4B” class, taught by Sandy Baumgart, is in second place.
“Everybody’s like, ‘Your mom is the Box Top Lady, how come your class isn’t in first place?’” Jaime said, imitating some of the kids reactions toward Danielle because her class is in second place.
Whichever class winds up winning the competition gets to have a special treat of its choice. Some options include having a movie day, an ice cream party, or the always popular pizza party.
“Whatever they want,” Jaime added.
Between her love of Box Tops and the amount of good they do, Jaime plans on continuing to support the school’s program even after Danielle moves on to higher grades.
“I’m kind of into it,” Jaime said. “The money goes for different things. Over at Berg, most of the money we earned over there is going to some upgrades for the playground equipment. I think (Principal) Mrs. (Carol) Farver over here wants to do some upgrades on technology. So maybe some more new iPads and stuff.”
Jaime said she welcomes any Box Tops the community would wish to donate. She may be contacted at (515) 202-1889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.