It took a decade, but the Riverside-Brookfield High School Student Association has met its seemingly insurmountable goal of collecting 1 million pop-tops to donate to a local Ronald McDonald House.

On May17, the Student Association delivered its last batch of pop-tops — 175 pounds’ worth — to the Ronald McDonald House near the Loyola University Medical Center. Over the past 10 years the SA has been collecting pop-tops from students and staff. 

In that time they have collected 1,131,059 pop-tops, which weighed out at about 790 pounds. This year alone, the SA collected 222,574 pop-tops to reach and surpass the 1 million mark.

The Ronald McDonald House has an arrangement with United Scrap, a Cicero-based recycling company, which pays 55 cents a pound for the pop-tops.

Student Association President Isis Galindo said that the pop-tops RB students have donated will net the Ronald McDonald House $355.50. Ronald McDonald houses provide free lodging for families of children undergoing medical treatments.

Galindo was happy that the 1 million pop-top goal was met on her watch.

“It’s great,” Galindo said. “We’ve been doing this for so long, and every year we think ‘Oh, we’re going to reach it this year,’ and then it figured that when I was president that we really reached the goal.”

All members of SA executive board helped with the pop-top collection drive, but Galindo singled out Treasurer Amy Zych for playing a key role in this year’s big effort, which collected nearly 20 percent of the million-plus pop-tops collected over the past decade.

“Amy Zych helped a lot,” Galindo said.

The goal to collect 1 million pop-tops to donate to the Ronald McDonald House was set in 2004, when SA officers attended a leadership conference where pop-tops were being collected for a Ronald McDonald house. 

The SA officers thought that was a good idea and that collecting 1 million pop-tops was a worthy goal. The SA contacted the Loyola Ronald McDonald house and was told that the Loyola house participates in the pop-top collection program.

Over the years the SA has sponsored various competitions and contests to maintain interest in the collection drive. This year all fifth-hour classes competed to see which class could donate the most pop-tops. Jenna Osburn’s Spanish I class won the prize, a pizza party, by collecting 44.16 pounds worth of pop-tops.   

Lisa Mitchell, the senior director of the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola thanked RB students for their decade long collection drive.

Supporting our house is really critical to our success in supporting families,” Mitchell said.