I am the Box Tops For Education coordinator for our elementary co-op. A few years ago, the lady that had set it all up was finished with the co-op, so the leaders were looking for someone to take it on. No one stepped up, so I said I would do it, since I felt like we contributed huge amounts of Box Tops, and I didn't want those to go to waste, LOL.
It took several phone calls to the BTFE headquarters to even be able to figure out what the lady had registered our co-op as (she didn't really remember), and get me on there as the coordinator. The previous lady had missed a submission in March her last year, and when you miss one submission, your account goes inactive, plus the church where the co-op meets (and is under financially) had moved, so that was another wrinkle. I think this is starting my third year. We've been slowly increasing our yearly total of money--we made about $250 last year, which may not sound particularly impressive, except that it means 2,500 box tops!
To participate in BTFE, your co-op (or school) has to have at least 40 elementary aged students, and there has to be some tax number associated with the group--it can't just be a group of families. That is where it was really helpful that we are under this church's financial umbrella--the check comes in to the church, and they give it our treasurer.
People hand me (or mail me them, even from Florida--thank you, Johanna!!) box tops all through the year, but there are 2 main submission deadlines, one in the fall, and one in the spring. I need to submit at least one thing both times to stay active. I really prefer to only submit once in the fall and once in the spring because we pay for shipping, and it's better to just have the 2 shipments. I did make an extra submission in June because I had noticed that for some reason I had collected a lot of box tops that were expiring in June, and I didn't want those to go to waste.
So a week or so before the deadline (Nov. 1 this year), I start bundling the box tops. Usually I go over to my friend Lynnea's house, and we visit while trimming and sorting, but I have been over to her house twice in the past few weeks, neither time with box tops, so the boys and I just did it here at home. We trim the excess cardboard off around the box tops, because, like I said, we pay for shipping, so we want the box tops to be as light as possible! I have been mentioning this at the moms meetings, and I have noticed that people really are doing tons better about trimming before they give me a baggie of box tops, so that is tremendously helpful.
I also have to check the expiration date. BT4E won't accept expired ones, so I have to be careful, especially since it is so easy to overlook the tiny date! Usually a box of cereal or whatever will have a box top with an expiration date of about 2 years out--I'm even seeing some with 2017 expiration dates right now. I did have to throw maybe about 10 expired box tops away out of this batch.
After trimming and checking the expiration date, I sort them into piles of 50, and put each pile of 50 into a ziploc baggie. I have to have a separate baggie for any "bonus" certificates, which are the ones worth more than one box top. Some wonderful person had 2 certificates from Harris Teeter worth 40 box tops each! We had a total of $14.40 in bonus certificates this time, which is an all-time record! So far we are up to $110 in individual boxtops (so that means counting 1,110 individual box tops, for those of you rusty in math, LOL), but I'll send out one last reminder email to our co-op, reminding people to bring in any they have been collecting. We usually have a slightly higher total in the fall, which makes sense because the time period is shorter between the fall and spring collection date (usually the beginning of March, so only 4 months away).
So if you clip box tops for your school, now you know what happens to them! I honestly can't imagine dealing with thousands upon thousands of those little things. By the time I am finished, I am seeing them in my sleep, and we don't really make all that much money from them! I do think it is worth it though. And we are indeed the biggest contributors, LOL.