PORTAGE, Wis. - For the second time in her life, a 6-year-old Portage girl is trying to beat the Guinness Book of World Records' number of most pop tabs collected.
The current record is about 2.8 million tabs.
"We're in for the long haul again," said Joseph Alves, the father of the Portage girl, Mercedes, who is spearheading the collection efforts.
This is Mercedes' second time attempting to beat the world record. The first time happened last year. Alves said they collected almost 4 tons of pop tabs, but when it came around to the final count, they couldn't get enough volunteers to help out.
"About 10 million tabs, a little over 10 million tabs," Alves said as he described the 4 tons. They would have needed at least 1,000 volunteers to count them all. They had 275.
Alves said he felt like he disappointed his daughter when they couldn't do a final count and, therefore, couldn't make it into the Guinness Book of World Records, but Mercedes wasn't discouraged.
"She woke up one morning and started saying she wanted to collect tabs. We said okay and we started collecting them," Alves said.
Mercedes and Alves originally began collecting the tabs to honor her late brother, Gunner, who died in a car wreck on Oct. 26, 2014. Mercedes had plans to donate the money collected from the recycled tabs to the Ronald McDonald house.
"It's the last place she had seen Gunner, and she put the tab collecting that she liked to do anyway together with her brother being gone," Alves said.
In the past three months, Mercedes has collected 1.4 million tabs already.
"My new goal is 7 million," Mercedes said.
Alves said they are going to be more prepared this time around so that getting enough volunteers won't be an issue.
"Starting the first of January, we are going to post on her Facebook page a sign-up sheet so we have all the people well in advance before we even get to the last day," he said.
They will stop collecting on Aug. 31, 2019.
"She's going to continue to do her mission until she completes it, and then after that, I'm sure she will continue to do more," Alves said.
If you would like to donate pop tabs, need drop-off location information or would like to volunteer to help with the official tab count, you can contact the Alves family on their Facebook page.
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