August is National Crayon Collection Month and just as back-to-school supply lists and shopping deals are hitting our inboxes, we begin to feel a particular eagerness for a fresh new year. While this can be an exciting time for many, it’s a source of stress for others.
Helping Children and Teachers
Many teachers spent an average of $745 on school supplies in the 2019-2020 school year alone, often providing students from low-income families with school supplies they personally purchased. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a greater financial rift, and there will be many more students entering the 2021-2022 school year without supplies.
Helping To Reduce Landfill Waste
Meanwhile, restaurants in America throw away over 150 MILLION still-good crayons per year which end up in landfills! Crayons are made paraffin wax which takes decades to decompose. Not only is this wasteful, but harmful to our environment. By redirecting crayons from restaurants and well-served schools, we alleviate waste, shift a societal norm of wastefulness, and provide teachers and students with much-needed classroom supplies.
Redirecting Used Crayons
The non-profit Crayon Collection is giving us another meaning to the back-to-school shopping season. By providing a resource for teachers, students, and communities to collect, contribute, or receive gently used crayons from restaurants and schools, Crayon Collection puts them into the hands of vulnerable children from low socio-economic backgrounds and at-risk environments across the world.
Crayon Collection’s Founder Sheila Morovati states, "National Crayon Collection Month ensures that teachers in underserved school districts are supported with classroom supplies and that ALL students have access to art. We raise awareness to the power of art as a means for learning academic standards and social emotional development using crayons as the main tool.”
How You Can Help
Crayon Collection is open to anyone who wants to participate and donate crayons to schools and centers in need. There are three steps to be a Crayon Changer:
- RETHINK trash by collecting your gently used crayons to donate to a local Title 1 School or Head Start Center through Crayon Collection. Crayon Collection has various resources including downloadable signs, flyers, and a Title 1 School-locator.
- REQUEST that your local restaurants set up Crayon Collection boxes to collect gently used crayons from kid diners. Connect them with Crayon Collection to match them with a school that can use those crayon donations. Parents can also set up “Playdate with a Purpose” for children and friends to write Color Kindness notes.
- REACH OUT email Crayon Collection for brand ambassador, volunteer, and intern opportunities in collecting and redistributing would-have-been trashed crayons and implementing eco-art. Teachers + Artists can submit project ideas that are made into lesson plans to contribute to Crayon Collection’s Arts Education curriculum, using reallocated crayons as the main tool. These lesson plans are created per grade and are available for free download.
Crayon Collection's Accomplishments
Crayon Collection has an impressive history of helping children and distributing crayons worldwide – in 2018, they set a Guinness World Record for the largest crayon donation in history with over 1 million crayons donated to teachers at LAUSD and Head Start Centers in Los Angeles! That next year, the non-profit donated thousands of crayons to migrant children at a mobile school in Tijuana. The effort continued in May 2021 at the San Diego Convention Center, where 1,500+ migrant children are currently being held while they wait to be reconnected with loved ones. Crayon Collection gathered donations to purchase crayons for them and Nickelodeon pledged a $1,500 donation too! The children at the detention facility have highly benefited from the program.
Additionally, this summer Crayon Collection partnered with the Getty Museum in LA for Virtual Art Exploration + art-making studio sessions, which was available for free to children everywhere. The summer program utilized the remarkable power of the crayon to unlock children’s creativity as part of the Getty Arts Access program and the Crayon Collection Art Education Program.
Make A Difference Today
By helping to collect crayons during National Crayon Colleciton Month and donating them to a local Title 1 school, not only are you not only helping children and schools, but also our planet. For more information and ways to get involved, please visit www.CrayonCollection.org - help redirect still good-crayons into future artists’ hands this back-to-school season!
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