Pulling off charity work

Jayden Garza-Pepin has collected aluminum can tabs for a year to help children who may be struggling with health issues — and for fun.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Jayden Garza-Pepin, 5, of Clovis shows McDonald's' area supervisor Bruce Lamb beverage can tabs he collected as a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House in Lubbock. Lamb visited the Lincoln-Jackson Family Center Tuesday to collect the tabs.

Garza-Pepin, 5, was recognized for his tab collection effort by a McDonald's representative Tuesday in his pre-K class at Lincoln-Jackson Family Center. He will also receive a special visit from Ronald McDonald himself.

The 89 pounds of tabs collected by Garza-Pepin will be used to support Ronald McDonald Houses in Lubbock and Amarillo, according to Bruce Lamb, McDonald's area supervisor.

Ronald McDonald House Charities are in place to create, find and support programs that improve the health and well-being of children.

"I like to help people," said Garza-Pepin, seconds after showing off a fuzzy caterpillar-on-a-stick toy he created.

Garza-Pepin said he wants to collect 1 million tabs, a goal his mother and teachers say he can definitely reach.

The organization encourages collecting aluminum can tabs for recycling purposes because the tabs are more hygenic and easier to store than whole cans. The cash value of the recyclable material is then donated to the area RMHC chapter.

Heather Pepin said her son collects tabs from home, from VFW Post 3280, where is grandmother is employed, and from parking lots, sidewalks and residents' yards.

Pepin said she is constantly pulling her vehicle over so her son can pick up tabs. She also saves tabs from her job to help her son.

Pepin said each morning her son grabs his collection of tabs before heading to school to add to the classroom tab collection bank.

"He knows he is going to help other people when he collects tabs," said Pepin, a bookkeeper at a local gas company. "He treats it as a responsibility because he knows he has to do it to help people."

Pepin said her son receives help collecting tabs from his brother Isaiah, who received the same recognition in Kathi Shaw's Lincoln-Jackson pre-K class about two years ago for collecting tabs.

Pepin said when she received a newsletter from Lincoln-Jackson in August 2010 informing her students were collecting aluminum can tabs, her sons immediately showed interest.

Kesha Flint, an educational assistant in Shaw's class, believes Garza-Pepin's tab collection effort gives him an important goal and a responsibility his classmates can observe and imitate.

Flint described Garza-Pepin as a sweet, outgoing, smart child. She said his outgoing personality is his greatest asset.

She said Garza-Pepin often struts in the classroom showing off tabs he has collected.

"He's always working toward a goal," Flint said. "He wants to fill this box or that box. He never knows how much he brings in. He just judges by how much it looks to him."

Bio

  • Name: Jayden Garza-Pepin
  • Age: 5
  • Hometown: Clovis
  • Favorite cartoon: "SpongeBob SquarePants"
  • Favorite book: "Cat in the Hat"
  • Favorite singer: Justin Bieber
  • Favorite video game: Mario Kart Wii
  • Favorite food: Chicken nuggets and fries
  • Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate

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