WICHITA, Kan. -

More than 15,000 students were given an opportunity to help others and to understand the importance of recycling on Friday.

Schools across Kansas participated in the Pull Tabs School Contest to help raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities. The money was raised by donating their collections of pull tabs.

But students were not the only ones to donate.

Irene Hamilton gave three cans of pull tabs. She had been saving them for a kidney dialysis patient. When the patient did not need the tabs, she began wondering what to do with them.

After holding on to them for years, she came across advertising for the Pull Tab School Contest and discovered a place to take them.

"I said there's my answer. There's my prayer,"  Hamilton said.  

The tabs are redeemed at Wichita's recycling center. The funds then help with operating expenses for the two Wichita house locations and the family room inside Wesley Medical Center.

The amount of pull tabs has not officially been weighed. The group estimates they raised 2,000 pounds. Last year, they collected about 500 pounds.

Prizes were awarded for the classes and schools that donated the most.