TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - One by one, students at Hutsonville High School count small pieces of scrap.
It's part of a project that began before many of them were born.
Kids in the Hutsonville school system started collecting pop tabs in 1992m raising money for the Ronald McDonald charity.
Their teacher wanted the students to see what a million of something looked like.
Since then, it's spread far beyond the town of only 600 people.
"We have students bring them in, we've had community members bring them in, we've had other school systems send them over to us," said Danielle Zerkle, a math teacher at Hutsonville. "It's been a very large scale community project."
Danielle is the third teacher to continue the education of coming together; all to help people they don't know.
[CG :s1\SAMANTHA REINBOLD\SENIOR, HHS]
"You never get to meet the people that you're helping, but you see on the tv all these little kids with cancer, and you think hey, I can help them out in ways other people can't," said senior Samantha Reinbold.
Jars and containers of over three and a half million counted tabs have lined the walls, while tubs of others remain waiting to be tallied.
"It's kind of obsessive them to them too like, 'look how far we've come with all of these tabs that we have. Let's finish it. I wonder what a million would look like,'" said Danielle.
You may think how big of a difference can one pop tab make. Well 2500 pop tabs equal a dollar. Four and a half million equal almost 2000 dollars.
"When a family goes up to be with their child, they don't have to pay for room and board, or a hotel" said Danielle, "that's all taken care of. They can focus on helping their child get well."
It's an act of compassion teaching the students a lesson no book can provide; the impact people can have when they come together.
"It's just awesome how everyone is willing to help out, especially with something in a community this small," said senior Austin Vaughn.
"It's opened up my eyes to see how much that the community can help and not realize that they're doing that much," said Samantha.
This was originally going to be the last pop tab collection.. but the school has decided to continue the tradition.
if you'd like to help, you can send your pop tabs to the Hutsonville High School at 500 West Clover Street, Hutsonville, IL 62433.
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