Photography courtesy of Krinna Kennett

A 9-year-old neighbor collected more than 400,000 pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House through her nonprofit dedicated to helping children in need.

Brooklyn Kennett, a fourth-grader at Eduardo Mata Montessori, started Care With Flair in 2019 to help kids feel healthy, happy and full.

She had previously volunteered with her family at Feed My Starving Children and The Birthday Party Project, but she wanted to do more.

One of her first solo projects was collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. The charity recycles the pop tabs from aluminum cans, then uses the funds to cover overhead costs so families can stay close to their hospitalized children at little to no cost.

“Volunteering has been a family things since I was little,” Brooklyn said. “When I got older and could make my own decisions, I decided I wanted to collect pop tabs.”

Over the summer, she distributed flyers and collection cups at neighborhood restaurants and organizations, such as the Dallas Elks Lodge. She also organized a pop tab drive at a local pageant, where she collected 13,000 tabs.

“Whoever collected the most pop tabs would be the pop tab princess,” Brooklyn said. “I’m the pop tab queen.”

There are about 1,200 pop tabs per pound, so Brooklyn and her mom could estimate the number collected by weight. They placed the pop tabs in buckets and put them on a scale. She collected more than 330 pounds.

Brooklyn hopes to elevate her platform as the Young American Junior Miss International. She captured the international pageant crown in August at a competition in Houston. In addition to winning the pageant, she also received her third gold presidential service award for having completed more than 100 hours of community service in the last 12 months.

“I love to perform and be onstage. That’s why I started pageants,” Brooklyn said. “I was super excited to be crowned. I hope to spread the word about Care With Flair so we can get more pop tabs, help more kids and make Care With Flair international.”

Her next service project goal is to fill and donate 50 shoe boxes to Operation Christmas Child. Anyone who would like to donate or build a box online can visit her website.