"Even though she's such a young child, she truly understands the meaning of what this is for, why she's doing this for her brother," said her father Joseph Alves. "She understands he's not coming back. But the love she's received from everyone who has helped is absolutely astounding."
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the record at 2,782,000 tabs collected in a year, Joseph Alves said. Mercedes has until Feb. 1 to beat the record.
"That record has stood for 12 years. Nobody has been able to touch it -- until now," Joseph Alves said. "She could have her story in Guinness forever, and we're hoping to get enough tabs to make it almost impossible for the record to change."
The Guinness Book of World Records recently accepted Madison's application that shows she's attempting to top the pop tab collecting record, said Shauna Thayer, marketing and communications director for the Ronald McDonald House in Madison.
"From our standpoint, what's really amazing is just how far-reaching this little girl's goal has gone," Thayer said. "We've had people call regularly and say, `I've been saving personally for a few years, and how can I get these to this little girl?"'
Mercedes' classmates at Woodridge Primary School have collected at least 68,000 tabs, said Principal Salina Thistle. Students will continue collecting until Oct. 25. The classroom with the most tabs will win a movie screening and popcorn.