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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Operation Box Top in full swing

By Lance Cpl. Tyler Barstow | | February 9, 2007

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The base's commissary was a site of bustling activity as Boy and Girl Scouts, Marines and other volunteers clipped coupons off goods as part of Operation Box Top.

This is the first time for the program at Camp Pendleton, with all of the proceeds going to support base schools, said Lt. Col. Samuel P. Pelham, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton school liaison officer.

"Roughly 2,500 tops were clipped over the two-day period, adding an extra $250 to each Base school," said Pelham.

Every coupon that was clipped gives 10 cents to base schools, explained Bill Vick, store directory for the commissary.

"The commissary sells $110,000 a month in box top eligible products, so there is potentially $11,000 that could be going to base schools but not all are redeemed," explained the 47-year-old from Rocky Mount, NC.

Operation Box Top was set up on this specific weekend to coincide with the Super Bowl and two promotions that came out to support the Box Tops for Education program.

"Both General Mills and Kimberly Clark will donate $1,000 each," Vick said.

The program started Saturday and with $2,000 already going to base schools, the troops were excited and motivated.

Stationed at various points throughout the store, the Boy Scouts of Troop 790, and the Cub Scouts of Pack 789 and Pack 790, were eager to assist customers with collecting the box tops.

"We've been here awhile but we're still having fun," said Eric Fox, a Webelos I with the 50-year-old Cub Scout Pack 790. Fox worked at a coupon clipping station near the entrance of the store.

The 10-year-old manned the station with his fellow scouts Isiah D. Wilson, an 11-year-old Webelos II and Nick D. Helfert a fellow Webelos I from Quantico, Va.

The various clipping points were located next to displays of products bearing the box tops for education label. The displays covered more than 125 feet of the store at locations where people would be sure to see them.

The Scouts were also helped by their parents and Scout leaders that came to supervise the event.

"I think it's going very well," said Patsy A. Wilson, Isiah's mother. "We're getting a lot of response from people passing through."

Scouts passed out fliers in front of the commissary and had Scouts roaming throughout the store armed with cutters and bags, collecting coupons as people shopped. They also received help from some Marines.

"The Scouts are all doing a really good job," said Pvt. Matt R. Braith, a 21-year-old Marine from New Prague, Minn.

Braith and 21-year-old Pvt. Colt J. Evans were at the commissary Saturday, helping the scouts clip coupons and noticed a lot of response from customers.

"The community is very understanding and are more than willing to take the time to participate," said Evans.

The various workers were spread around the store to ensure they would collect the most box tops, but that wasn't the only reason for the event.

"There's a lot of money out there available to the schools and this event is not only to collect for this weekend but to raise awareness for the future," said Vick, who plans on leaving the displays available in the store for future deposits.

"He hopes that all commissary patrons are reminded that these box tops can be returned to the store throughout the year and will go to the Base schools," said Pelham.
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