How Your Used Crayons Can Help Schools in Need

On Thursday, March 31, The Crayon Collection needs your help with a national crayon drive and bake sale.
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I was lucky enough to go to a great elementary school in a fairly well-off town, so we always had plenty of classroom supplies and art materials. But that's not the case for many children across the country. Many teachers at Title 1 schools and Head Start centers around the country have to purchase basic classroom essentials out-of-pocket, according to The Crayon Collection, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit. That's why the organization is working to recycle some of the 150 million crayons that get thrown out in the U.S. each year. It collects gently used crayons and then donates them to schools in need. It's a great way for a family to contribute to the community without giving up much time or money—and you'll get some clutter out of your home. Sounds like a win-win to me!

You can participate in The Crayon Collection's efforts all year round, but this Thursday, March 31, is a special occasion. The organization has organized a national crayon drive and bake sale in the hopes that it will set a record for the largest in history.

Your creative kid loves her arts-and-craft supplies, but all those crayons, markers, paintbrushes, paper, and other supploes and materials may be difficult to organize. Learn what to toss and what to keep, and how to make her artistic space more organized.

Courtesy The Crayon Collection

Want to get involved? Here's what you can do:

1. Start your own crayon collection by printing this sign and setting up a bin.

2. Spread the word. Ask your neighbors, friends, and local restaurants to donate their crayons. You can also encourage businesses or schools to set up their own donation bins.

3. Host a bake sale. While you're raising funds for the organization, you can ask for crayons, too.

4. Fundraise online. You can set up your own page here.

5. Finally, donate all those crayons to a nearby school in need. If you aren't sure where to find one, the Crayon Collection has an online locator you can use.

To find out more about the organization or to see some of the kids who have already benefited, go to CrayonCollection.org.

Chrisanne Grise is the assistant health editor for Parents. She won two coloring contests as a child, and is still very proud of herself. Follow her on Twitter: @xanne.

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