JOHN DAY - Helping schools raise funds might be as close as your kitchen garbage can or stash of recyclables.

Several product groups have programs in which labels and box tops saved from various food containers can be redeemed, adding much needed cash to school coffers.

Lisa Jensen is the coordinator for drives at Humbolt Elementary and Seneca School.

"The school budgets aren't projected to improve any time soon," Jensen said. "With these programs we can raise much needed money and supplies."

Jensen runs three main collection projects. Here's a brief rundown and link for each:

• Box Tops for Education - Pink "Box Top" labels are on a variety of products, mostly boxed items, but also other containers. The drive has been around since 1996. http://www.boxtops4education.com/

• My Coke Rewards - Codes are on 14 brands, under caps on individual bottles, or on the packaging of multi-pack items. Program is completely online; nothing is mailed in. http://www.mycokerewards.com/home.do

• Labels for Education - Formerly a Campbell's soup label program, now includes several products, which have varying point values for UPC codes. http://www.labelsforeducation.com/

There are collection containers in classrooms at both Humbolt and Seneca schools, as well as at Chester's Thriftway and the John Day Senior Center. People can place the items in an envelope or baggie and label it for a specific school.

Jensen said last year Humbolt raised nearly $1,300.

"Making money from things people throw away is a no-brainer, a win-win," Jensen said.

People can call other schools regarding information on their drives.

For information on the Humbolt and Seneca programs, call Jensen at 541-910-2352.

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