Baby Sloan inspires can tab collection
Philanthropic efforts are abounding in Franklin County this year, and the county and city school systems are playing a big part in them. One cause students and community members are coming together to support is Lauren Hellums’ goal to collect 100 one-gallon bags of can tabs to donate to the Shriners Hospital for children and the Ronald McDonald House Foundation.
Hellums first shared her collection goal on Facebook in December 2018, and from that point she said it “spread like wildfire.” Her goal is to be able to send 50 bags of tabs to both organizations. More than 30 gallons have been collected already.
“Never in a million years did I think it would spread like it has,” Hellums said.
The deeply personal story behind her desire to donate to these organizations has reached the community and inspired its involvement.
In September 2018 Hellums gave birth to her baby girl Sloan, and she was met with a surprise. Sloan was born with part of her left arm missing from the elbow down. Hellums said Sloan was otherwise completely healthy. The family proceeded to get an appointment at Shriners Hospital in South Carolina, and while there, they were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House.
Both organizations are nonprofit, and Hellums said when she learned about the opportunity to donate collected can tabs, she decided to give back.
“Why not give back to places like this that are helping people and their families?” she said.
When her friends and colleagues learned about her goal, they joined in the mission and even got their schools involved.
Sarah Jane Hattaway at Vina, who used to work with Hellums, reached out to her about Vina students could help. She came up with the idea for Vina’s classes to compete to see who could collect the most. After one week, Vina had already collected a full one-gallon bag.
“I want our students to serve others and become leaders in the community,” Hattaway said.
Students at East Franklin Junior High School are also collecting can tabs to donate. Danna Garrison’s third-grade class has already collected two full bags. Garrison said her class was excited to help after she explained what the collection was for and showed them a picture of Sloan.
“They call her by name like they know her personally at this point and ask to see pictures of her all the time. They are so excited to be able to help,” Garrison said. “I love that they are so excited about being able to help someone. Trying to help people is just something we need to instill in our children. We never know when it could be our best friend, our classmate or our own family who could be impacted and need help.”
Hellums said she hopes that when Sloan gets older, this will serve as a platform for her to see how she can give back and help others without having to spend a lot of money.
“It’s something she can grow with and share,” she said.
To find out more information about sending can tab donations to Hellums email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.