Vera Baker, with the help of friends and neighbors, has been collecting, cleaning and organizing can tabs in Ruskin for over 15 years. Pictured: George Banes, Baker and Jim Porrett.

By Makenzie Atkins

Local community member Vera Baker has been collecting soda can tabs in Florida for over 15 years.

Along with the help of her friends, neighbors and fellow Moose Lodge members, Baker has collected over 20 gallons of can tabs. Once she collects the tabs, she donates them to the local Shriners Club, which then recycles them and donates all the money to Shriners Healthcare for Children.

After losing her son, Baker moved to Ruskin with her husband and began collecting tabs for a neighbor to take with them to donate in their hometown. However, when she found out there was a local Shriners Club in Sun City Center, she decided to get more involved.

As others saw her eagerness to donate her time to such a noble cause, many neighbors and friends began to collect tabs as well. Baker is continuously overjoyed by the fact that so many are willing to join in and help with collecting, separating and dropping off tabs.

“Everybody knows I collect tabs now; I have one couple that has two barrels on their porch, one for can tabs and the other for the cans,” said Baker. “When they have friends over, they all separate the can from the tab and then bring them over to me, and I clean them and organize them into gallon bottles.”

When talking about the process, Baker expressed a heartfelt thank you to all of her friends and neighbors who help her collect the can tabs for a cause so near to her heart.

The Sun City Center Shriners Club was founded in 1963 under the auspices of Egypt Shrine of Tampa, FL. Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth with nearly 200 temples (chapters) in several countries and thousands of clubs around the world.

The fraternity has supported Shriners Hospital since it was founded in 1922. Shriners Hospital for Children specializes in pediatric care with a mission to improve the lives of children and families. With a focus on orthopedics, pediatric surgery, spine and spinal cord and sports medicine, the local Shriners Hospital is located on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa.

For more information, call 812-7170 or visit

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