Veterans for a Better Community: Picking up the ‘tabs’ for charity

Back in 2007, an Indianapolis man named Jerry Paul, initiated a charity group called Veterans for a Better Community. The organization has a single-minded purpose: to collect pop-top tabs and donate them to needy groups around Indy and other cities in Indiana. Those groups then get to turn in the recyclable tabs and keep the cash.

In the year 2008, Veterans for a Better Community gathered up 903,000 tabs and donated them to local veterans’ organizations. Today, August 7, 2009, they estimate that they will drop off a haul of over one million tabs for the recycling program run by the Ronald McDonald House of Indiana. They, in turn, use the proceeds to provide housing for sick children and their families at a facility on Limestone Street, and at the Riley Hospital for Children.
A veteran himself, of the Vietnam War, Paul has developed a system and a network of friends, shops, schools, churches and some 32 Indianapolis businesses to collect the tabs from. Occasional his sources will stage friendly competitions with one another to see who can come up with the most tabs. Presently, volunteer Breonna Martin, an eleven year old girl from nearby Shelbyville, Indiana, holds the title “Pop Tab Princess” for donating an estimated seven million tabs to the Ronald McDonald House.

“It’s not about one organization or one person,” Paul says. “It’s about what our community did.”

Indianapolis history
is rife with famous philanthropists. Colonel Eli Lilly, founder of the global heavyweight pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company, passed on a proclivity for creating and helping charities and nonprofits in Indianapolis, and the Lilly family alone has produced numerous important assistance organizations and donated to many more. A summation of the more important programs and grants the Indianapolis society has received from the Lilly family would have to include:


Lilly Endowment Fund: One of the most important nonprofit organizations in Indianapolis, this fund financially supports Indianapolis fairs and festivals and other special Indianapolis events, the Indiana Repertory Theater, the Indianapolis Art Center, the Lilly Boys & Girls Club, the Indiana State Museum, to name only a few.

Without the Lilly family’s involvement in the Indianapolis community, the Circle City would be quite a different place. The famous Indianapolis attraction, the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum on Monument Circle, is a testament to this Hoosier scion and later Lilly generations that followed his lead.

Other examples of a family involved in helping the Indianapolis community are these community-conscious investments made by the Glick family:

When a little girl of eleven can pick up the tab for the benefit of a whole community, it is undoubtedly an inspiration not only to children of Indianapolis and its environs, but the parents who learn from them.