Have you heard? The Box Tops for Education Program is changing! The program is ending its current program of clipping labels, then sending them to school, where someone audits them to make sure they’re not expired (and that they’re actually Box Tops labels), then sending them to Box Tops where they’re redeemed for 10 cents each for your school. Whew. Now how will your school earn money? There’s an app for that! Download the new Box Tops for Education app on your phone and just scan your receipt. The app will find all the eligible products on your receipt and credit your school for them.
So, here are the old box tops (which are still being accepted):
And here are the new box tops, reminding you to scan your receipt using the Box Tops for Education app:
What’s not to love? Well, for one, you only have 14 days from the date of purchase to scan your receipt before your “box tops” expire. My daughter’s school used to have a school-wide contest to see who could bring in the most box tops, with a class and grade-level winner. People would hang on to their box tops for months to bring them in for the contest. So not only is the redemption time way shorter (it used to be months), community-building events like those contests are a thing of the past now. UPDATE 9/13/19: A new update to the app now allows you assign your earnings to a particular classroom, so it looks like friendly competitions could be back on the table!
You know how else the community is likely to be impacted by this change? A decrease in non-school community participation in the program. There are several little old church ladies who love to save their box tops and give them to the kids at church. I’m sure there are other community members who do the same, and chances are that these folks—particularly non-smart-phone-users—are likely to lose this connection to their local school communities with the new program.
Local PTOs lose out on the chance to connect with potential volunteers, as well. While being the Box Tops Person was viewed as a thankless job (there are memes), it was one of the jobs that could be done at home, and which required a relatively low time commitment from parents who wanted to help support their child’s school. Anything that takes away a chance for schools and parents to connect, even in a small way, is a negative in my book.