OLNEY (KFDX/KJTL) — When it comes to can tabs, you probably don’t think about them very much, and chances are they’re still attached to your can when you throw it away or recycle it.

But a nine-year-old boy in Olney has found a purpose for the tabs. What started off as a small summer project has turned into something bigger than he’s ever imagined, and it has the potential to save lives.

Meet Cooper Tate, a small boy with a big heart.

Cooper started collecting tabs after he discovered that if you donate a gallon of them to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, it helps cancer patients in a big way.

“From what I’ve read, I first found out that one gallon equaled enough for one round of chemo, and that kind of motivated us to shoot for one gallon of tabs, and of course, we’ve gotten a lot more than that,” Cooper’s mother Laci Tate said.

Laci took to social media asking the public to drop their tabs off at her store 3T Meats, and they were blown away by the response. Cooper estimates he has well over 72,000 tabs so far.

“We got, lik,e a little jar full, and it had like 450 tabs in it, and we estimate how many were in there, and that’s how we got to that,” Cooper said.

Laci wasn’t the only one turning to social media for tabs. I decided to reach out for tabs, and the Texoma community did not disappoint. I surprised Cooper with well over 50,000 tabs that were donated by community members.

“I just want to say thank you to everybody in Olney and the surrounding communities,” Cooper said. “I’m very thankful for all of the tabs you have given us.”

Although this was just supposed to be a summer project, due to the response, the Tates are thinking about making this an annual thing.

“We really never dreamed that it would be anything quite like this, so we thought it was just going to be a summertime thing, we’ll definitely always take anyone’s pull tabs that wants to bring them in,” Laci said. “I only thought we were going to collect like two or three gallons, not that many.”

Cooper said he hopes his project inspires others to help those in need, even if it is one can tab at a time.

The Tate Family will be heading to the Ronald McDonald House in Forth Worth on August 5, where they will turn in the massive amount of tabs. We at KFDX will be documenting that as well.

That means you still have plenty of time to donate can tabs to 3T Meats in Olney, or feel free to drop them off here at the station on Seymour Highway.