Boxer Sailors and Marines donate pop-tabs in support of Ronald McDonald House
Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Veronica Mammina, Boxer Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs
USS Boxer, At Sea – Drinking a can of soda is more than just refreshment for Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) as they have been spending the last few weeks helping to collect pop-tabs for charity.

Support of the Ronald McDonald House Charity fund began Aug. 30 when Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) Marqueta C. Rodgers brought up the idea to collect pop-tabs during a First Class Petty Officer Association meeting aboard the ship.

“Pop-tabs for cancer is a way to raise donations for charity,” said Rodgers.

Rodgers said once the pop-tabs are collected they are sent to the charity and sent to a recycling center to be sold for cash. Her goal is to donate $5,000.

“The cash raised by the pop-tab donations is recycled back into their annual operating budget, which enables the Ronald McDonald houses to continue providing services for their St. Jude families,” Rodgers said.

The Ronald McDonald houses offer free, temporary homes for families with ailing children who are receiving treatment from children’s hospitals around the country.

Rodgers added she looks forward to not only raising funds, but also promoting cancer awareness throughout the ship.

“This program is important to me because my older sister is a cancer survivor,” she said. “I want to give children a fighting chance to live and see life.”

Logistics Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Claudia Neciosup, said this was the first time she participated in a fundraiser like this and that donating the pop-tabs are a good way to help others in need.

“I feel it’s important to give back to the community,” said Neciosup. “Even if we are deployed, I don’t think we should stop giving.”

Collection boxes are located near the garbage cans on the mess decks and in work spaces throughout the ship.

Marine Cpl. Joshua Torres, a food service attendant aboard Boxer, said he tries his best to remind everyone to donate the pop tabs as they throw away their trash during meal hours.

“It’s the little things that add up,” said Torres. “It’s part of what we stand for-we’re here to serve and protect others no matter what. Everyone can play a role.”

This is the first Ronald McDonald fund drive Rodgers has started on her own and the third one she has participated in over the last 12 years since she has been involved with helping to raise money for the charity.

Boxer is currently deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group.
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