Various images of children at Ronald McDonald House

Laingsburg High School student inspires long term community and corporate support of local non-profit

LANSING, Mich. — What started as a school project turned into a community effort that resulted in multiple trips to the grocery store and almost $1,000 raised for the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan. 

Laingsburg High School student Autumn Michaels started collecting aluminum pop tabs and recyclable cans from her family, friends and neighbors in March as a part of her senior project. 

"I chose to support the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan as my senior project because I love to help people and knew it is an organization that helps people in need,” said Michaels. 

Michaels donated 21.4 lbs of pop tabs and raised $831 by returning donated recyclable cans. The House will recycle the pop tabs on the cans and will receive an additional donation through it. Generally, the House collects about $2,000 each year through pop tab recycling and collections, which helps cover the cost of basic utilities, including heat and power at the House for a month.

“Collecting pop tabs is such a fun and impactful way to support the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan,” said Carolyn Hurst, executive director of RMHMM. “Autumn is the true definition of a House champion. The momentum she generated through her family, friends and community is immeasurable and will support those staying at the House into the future.”

Partner and title sponsor for the House’s annual Run for the House fundraiser, MSU Federal Credit Union joined in on Michaels’ fundraising efforts as well, donating more than seven gallon bags of pop tabs. Inspired by the impact Michaels’ efforts made, MSUFCU has since initiated an internal drive for employees to collect pop tabs and will donate them to the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan. The collection will begin later this month. 

“I am very touched that MSUFCU has decided to continue this project. It goes to show you that when one person starts a great project, others want to take part,” said Michaels. 

“We are excited to begin this pop tab collection in-house,” said Whitney Anderson-Harrell, MSUFCU Chief Community Development Officer. “Our employees and community are thrilled to be able to provide ongoing support to RMHMM.”

“We are incredibly grateful and proud of Autumn — and all of her champions, including MSU Federal Credit Union — for collecting pop tabs and returnable cans to help the House support families seeking medical treatment for their children in our community,” said Hurst.

The Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan keeps families with sick children together and close to the care and resources they need. It has served thousands of families by providing them a warm and caring home-away-from-home where they can have home-cooked meals, a place for siblings to play and a comfortable place to sleep near the hospital room where they spend countless hours with an ill child.