One of the wonderful things about The Crayon Initiative is the opportunity to give back at any age! We have groups of committed volunteers who come sort, melt, and pack crayons at our facility on a weekly basis, but we know that’s not an option for everyone.
When COVID hit, we had to rethink how we could continue to process donated crayons to turn them into the recycled packs we send to hospitals. Our sort-at-home program was born! We opened our facility every Saturday morning and soon, 100 cars were coming by to pick up crayon donations and drop off sorted ones.
While this program has become less necessary as in-person events open back up, one of our board members, Lori Deselms, has continued to leverage it to the benefit of a special group of people: the residents of Carefield Pleasanton Memory Care.
The Make a Difference Club
At Carefield Pleasanton Memory Care, many of the residents are living with dementia or other diagnoses, but they’re still looking for ways to give back to their community. The Make a Difference Club provides them with weekly community service activities—volunteering for The Crayon Initiative was a perfect fit.
About 40 pounds of used and unwanted crayons are brought in from our sorting facility and residents work together to sort them by color and toss them in the coordinating color bin.
Sorting by color is integral to the crayon creation process—otherwise we’d end up with nothing but muddy brown crayons!
Meeting Their Needs and Ours
For the residents of Carefield, the acting of sorting crayons fulfills some basic needs:
- Physically, sorting individual crayons requires residents to exercise their fine motor skills.
- Emotionally, the act of participating in a community service project for The Crayon Initiative provides a sense of purpose with a tangible reward: their hard work results in joy for children facing hospitalization.
- Cognitively, sorting crayons requires residents to think critically by dividing crayons out by color, and placing them in the coordinated bins.
- Socially, the Make a Difference Club allows residents to unite for a common cause, build camaraderie, share their stories, and laugh together.
“We all enjoy sorting crayons! It doesn’t take a big effort and is a nice gathering of the residents working together!” —Geraldine, Carefield resident
It takes one pound of donated crayons to make about 5 packs of new crayons, which we then ship to Child Life Services departments in children’s hospitals around the United States.
And since the inception of the Make a Difference Club, the residents of Carefield have sorted over 380 pounds of donated crayons, which we can transform into 15,200 new crayons for children!
Have we inspired you to start your own Make a Difference Club to give back? There are many ways you can get involved with The Crayon Initiative.
- Pick up crayons to sort at home. Anytime the facility is open, you can swing by to see if there are boxes available.
- Join a volunteer pod or create your own. Our volunteer pods commit to a weekly time for consistent melting, molding, and packing our recycled crayons.
- Donate financially. Without financial support, we aren’t able to process unwanted crayons into recycled ones for children in hospitals!
If you have any questions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!