Archived Story

Food labels pump up P.E.

Published 11:44am Friday, June 14, 2013

Physical education at Jim Pearson is getting a little boost from cereal, soup, cookies and juice – from their labels and lids, that is.

Through the Labels for Education program, P.E. teacher Patricia Brooks and assistants are able to rack up equipment they need for gym class – an initiative that has been ongoing for the past couple years.

“We replace hula hoops, jump ropes, balls – depends on what’s in the catalog and the number of labels we collect,” Brooks said. “A lot of times we use to replace items that have torn up.”

The P.E. department collects all applicable labels – including V–8 Splash caps, Campbell’s soup labels and the labels from Pepperidge Farm products – and sends them in to Labels for Education. Points from the collected labels accumulate, allowing them to “buy” needed items.

“We get to go online and look in the catalog and pick something,” Brooks said. “The labels are solely for the P.E. department.”

Brooks has been collecting labels since she worked at Stephens Elementary. She took the project on at Jim Pearson when she began working there two years ago.

“They were just randomly collecting – they really had not purchased anything,” Brooks said.

Brooks asked if she could take over label collection and use them solely on P.E. supplies. She got students involved in collecting, as well.

“To get them more interested in bringing them, we give them a treat – it might be a pencil, eraser, candy or something,” Brooks said.

With limited funds from the state, Brooks said collecting labels is “the way that we actually get the bulk of our P.E. equipment.”

“It’s down to like $150 each semester,” Brooks said. “When I have a class of 60-90 kids, it takes a lot of equipment.”

People willing to donate items that qualify can either mail them to Brooks at 3491 Coley Creek Road, Alexander City, 35010 or give them to a child that attends Jim Pearson.

“It’s like throwing away money when they throw those items in the trash,” Brooks said.

For a full list of items included in Labels for Education, vist and click on Earn Points – Clip UPCs.