Helping our community by recycling crayons.

By Sheila Michail Morovati
Sheila Michail MorovatiLike many busy families in Los Angeles, my family used to frequent a certain kid friendly restaurant in our neighborhood several times per week. Each time we stood up at the end of our meal, I would guiltily eye four bright, virtually unused crayons sitting on the table, knowing that they shouldn’t be tossed in the trash. I started to keep our barely-used crayons, and built up a stash of thirty-two crayons within a month. As I did the math after noticing that many other families also left their crayons behind, I saw this as an opportunity to create a change, both for the environment and for kids who might not otherwise have access to something many of us take for granted.

Crayon Collection’s mission is simple: to collect as many crayons as possible and donate them to kids in need. We now work with many local restaurants, including Café Vida, Marmalade Café, and Coral Tree Café as well as several large national restaurant chains. We have also placed collection bins in the offices of over 150 preschools and elementary schools throughout the country that donate the crayons, either by holding crayon drives or simply by allowing parents to drop off their own loose crayons.

These schools then donate their collected crayons to a low-income school of their choice or organizations such as One Voice. Some of our most successful crayon collections derive from the ones that are run by various schools’ student councils. Recently, we learned that our efforts are now an international interest. A school in Beijing, China contacted us to let us know that they have started their own very successful Crayon Collection as well.

Large restaurant chains have been eager to help their communities by working with us. Restaurants save crayons that are left behind by their kid diners, and Crayon Collection then pairs each restaurant with a Title 1, or high poverty school in desperate need of art supplies. Many of these schools which collect crayons from their partner restaurants once a month do not have the means to supply crayons to all of their classrooms as they are dramatically underfunded.

Crayon Collection also affords us a chance to instill an eco-conscious mindset within our children. We feel children should learn not only the advantages of recycling, but also of re-using items and reducing the great deal of waste in our culture. Saving crayons is a simple lesson. But it generates many relatable experiences for our kids.

We encourage you to start your own Crayon Collection in your neighborhood or at your child’s school. We will gladly support your efforts. For answers to your questions, please visit our Web site at http://www.crayoncollection.org

Sheila Michail Morovati is the founder of Crayon Collection. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.