There is nothing like opening a new box of crayons and taking in that classic Crayola smell. Whether it was at home, in school, or at a restaurant, many people have memories of coloring and drawing with crayons while growing up. However, for some children, this isn’t a reality. August is known as National Crayon Collection Month, with a mission to create that reality and make crayons accessible to all children.
The month is spearheaded and was created by the nonprofit, “Crayon Collection,” and can be summarized in three words: “collect, contribute, and create.” According to crayoncollection.org, there are two parts to National Crayon Collection Month’s purpose: raising awareness of the number of crayons thrown away each year, and in return, having those crayons donated to Title1 elementary schools. The main focus is on unused restaurant crayons that end up in landfills and harm the environment. Over 150 million restaurant crayons are discarded each year, and because crayons don’t decompose, they lie unused. The organization’s goal is for those crayons to be given to schools and children in poverty. This will also help teachers who spend their own money providing art supplies for their classrooms.
There are many ways you and your family can participate in National Crayon Collection Month. Before starting your collection drive, visit Crayon Collection’s website for multiple helpful resources, including flyers, signs, and a printable bookmark, featuring characters from the book, The Day the Crayons Quit. Then, begin with collecting crayons from local kid-friendly restaurants and from family members and friends. Ask managers at various restaurants if they will gather unused or like-new crayons that have been given to diners and left behind. You and the manager can determine whether this activity will be done over a course of time, such as a month, or if it will be a one-time only collection.
The campaign doesn’t have to be solely focused on gathering unused crayons from restaurants. Look through your art supplies at home. Many people have boxes of crayons they no longer need or that were a part of last year’s school supplies. Another idea is hosting a collection drive in your community. The drive could be in your neighborhood, library, or community center. Once you have collected all the crayons, the nonprofit suggests putting them in boxes or bags before delivering them. Another step families can complete while getting kids involved in the activity is sorting the various colors of crayons. After sorting, you can package the individual colors into bags or create an assortment of colors and place them into one bag.
Finally, donate the crayons to a Title 1 elementary school or schools in your area. If you are unsure which schools are Title 1, Crayon Collection has a finder on their website for you to utilize. Also, you can contact your local school district for information. Then, get in touch with a school and see how they would like to go about receiving your collection. It might be a simple drop-off, or at a larger event. However, it is important to remember that the crayons need to be donated before the first day of school for the new school year. That way, the teachers and students can use them from day one.
Other places to consider donating your crayons to are daycares, Headstart centers, churches, and YMCAs. Think about businesses and nonprofits in your community that work with children, mainly those in poverty, and what supplies they might be lacking, due to limited finances or lack of funds. When choosing the place to donate to, think about children who might not have access to getting crayons and need them the most.
Don’t forget to share the news and inform others about your community service project. Share pictures on social media and use the hashtags, #GotCrayons and #MillionCrayonCollection.
National Crayon Collection Month only happens once a year; however, you can hold a crayon collection as many times as you would like throughout the year. Get your family, friends, neighborhood, and school involved. You never know whom you’ll inspire. Together, we can give back to children in need and save crayons from the landfill.
For more information, visit CrayoncCllection.org.