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America's Schools Are Clipping Along

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Giant School Bus Cookie

(Family Features) - Time for a pop quiz: which top fundraising program enabled schools nationwide to earn more than $175 million over the last 10 years? Here's a clue - look outside the box!

The answer: Box Tops for Education, one of the biggest, most successful cash-in-hand fundraisers enables participating schools to purchase needed items for their classrooms. Box Tops coupons - found on hundreds of grocery store products - can be clipped and turned in at participating schools for 10¢ each. That weekly trip to the grocery store can help local schools bag extra cash when Box Tops are collected from favorite items such as Cheerios, Nature Valley Granola Bars and Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks.

In addition to clipping, there are more ways schools put the General Mills popular program to work, explained Lisa Kessel, Box Tops for Education. Parents can support their school online by simply registering at www.boxtops4education.com/progress/SchoolEarnings.aspx.

"Our Web site connects all the Box Tops families and schools around the country. It allows you to check your school's fundraising progress, browse easy and delicious recipes, receive valuable product coupons, discover fun family activities, and find even more ways to earn cash back for your school." Since Box Tops debuted in 1996, schools have used their earnings to purchase everything from portable classrooms to playgrounds to computers.

While clipping is big, clicking onto the Box Tops for Education Marketplace is another easy way schools can earn cash. This one-stop virtual shopping destination highlights more than 60 retailers such as Lands End and JC Penney that give a percentage of the total purchase to the Box Tops school of the shopper's choice.

"It's an easy, everyday way to earn more, especially this time of year when people are looking to purchase gifts for springtime celebrations, weddings, Mother's Day and baby showers," Kessel said. She added that even grandparents or extended family members can help give to their favorite school by registering and shopping online at www.boxtops4education.com/progress/SchoolEarnings.aspx..

Top Notch Tips

Box Tops for Education coordinators around the country work hard to help their schools stay on the fundraising fast track. Take note of these tips from three pros, and help your school make the grade!

  • Put the fun in fundraising, says Judy Bernstein of Quail Run Elementary in Phoenix, Ariz. "Make it (collecting Box Tops) a fun project while using the Box Tops Web site, www.boxtops4education.com/progress/SchoolEarnings.aspx., for helpful hints and clip art."

  • "Find incentives for staff and students," advises Elizabeth Marie Petty Froman, Greenville Elementary School in Greenville, Mo. "And, celebrate your successes - the big ones and the small ones!"

  • Nine-year veteran coordinator Cindy Mussleman, Lehigh Christian Academy, Pa., offers two winning pointers: first, be persistent by offering parents friendly reminders about ongoing collections. Second, if you're new to Box Tops, sign up for Box Tops University at BoxTops4Education.com. "It's such an easy fundraiser!" she adds.

Giant School Bus Cookie

  • 1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury Create 'n Bake refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 1 container (1 lb) vanilla creamy ready-to-spread frosting
  • 1/4 teaspoon yellow food color
  • 3 drops red food color
  • 2 chocolate-dipped marshmallow creme-filled sandwich cookies
  • 2 gummy fruit rings
  • Betty Crocker Fruit Roll-Ups chewy fruit snack rolls (blue and red varieties)
  • Wafer cookies
  • Black decorating gel
  • 2 licorice twists
  • Assorted candies (mini fruit-shaped candies and gumdrops)
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    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil. Cut cookie dough in half crosswise. Cut each section in half lengthwise. With floured fingers, press in bottom of pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool completely in pan, about 15 minutes.
    2. Remove cookie from pan by lifting foil; remove foil. Place cookie on large serving tray or foil-covered 14x10-inch sheet of cardboard. With long side facing you, cut 3 1/2x3-inch rectangle from upper right corner of cookie. (See photo.) Cut rectangle in half lengthwise; reserve for bus door.
    3. Reserve about 1/4 cup frosting. In small bowl, mix remaining frosting and food colors until well blended; spread frosting over cookie.
    4. Place sandwich cookies on bottom for wheels; use some of reserved frosting to attach gummy rings for hub caps. Cut blue chewy fruit snack rings for and place on cookie for passenger window, hub and place on cookie for passenger window, hub caps. Cut blue chewy fruit snack roll to fit, windows on door, and driver's window; cut red and place for stop sign. Attach wafer cookies for driver and students' faces. Use remaining ingredients to decorate as shown in photo. Color very small amounts of reserved frosting for smiles, eyes and hair as desired.

Preparation Time
40 minutes

Start to Finish Time
1 hour 15 minutes

16 servings

SOURCE: General Mills - Box Tops 4 Education

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