If you have read many of my MCW posts, you know I like to create the modern equivalent of alchemy, things like ditch mining for returnables and donating the proceeds to the Hartland Children’s Christmas Fund (turned in $10.60 worth today), or getting magazine subscriptions for the library with Coke points.
A couple years ago, My sweepstaking friend Rhonda Martin told me about entering the 12 digit codes from non-winning instant lottery tickets online and using the accumulated points to get stuff. Foolishly, I didn’t pay immediate attention to her suggestion. In fact, it wasn’t until I was ditch mining by a bridge in Harmony last summer and noticed how many tickets were lying along the road, that I remembered what she’d told me. I picked up what was discarded in a 200 foot stretch and set up an account on the Maine lottery website. Not long after, I realized that people were leaving quite a number of non-winners in the wastebasket at a local store. Since I have no pride when it comes to scavenging, I started retrieving them and entering them online.
When my point total started climbing, I looked at what was available. At about the same time, the fourth grade teacher in Hartland created a request on the Donor’s Choose website, a place where teachers all over the country can post a need that the local school budget can’t cover. Our daughter Lisa introduced us to it when she started using it to fund projects at her school in the Bronx. Here in Hartland, the fourth grade had one computer for 20 kids. The teacher was asking for enough funding to add three more. I noticed that I could get a Craig Netbook for just over 14,000 points.
Beth and I helped fund the Donor’s Choose project, while I went ahead and used my points to get the netbook. I wish I had a picture of those kids’ faces when the teacher and I walked into the classroom with the box. They were thrilled.
Two weeks ago, I delivered a second netbook to that classroom. Combined with the three they got from Donor’s Choose, these kids now have six netbooks for twenty students, a much better ratio if they’re going to become computer proficient. I’m already working on getting enough points for another one, possibly for one of the other classes at Somerset Middle School. The whole experience has been the ultimate example of turning someone else’s trash into treasure.