Friday, July 31, 2009

Whatcha Gonna Do With All That Junk...

Hey BlogHer attendees!
(or anyone who frequents conferences with Expo halls)

Does your collection of Swag Tote bags resemble THIS? Or maybe even...e-hem, WORSE? Just to be honest here, I came home from this year's BlogHer event with around TWENTY-FIVE physical bags. Not that I really WANTED that many totes, but some companies were giving me 2 or 3 of each one, asking me to take them because they had so many left. Knowing in my head what I was going to do with them, I took them.

Out of the slew of cloth and print, I did keep a few. I do try VERY hard to be an environmentally aware citizen of this Earth and use cloth bags whenever possible (and I encourage YOU to be frugal with our resources as well!) Some of the bags were very nice - I LOVE the Clorox Green bags, the BlogHer Blue Avocado bags & the Pepsi ones. How nice that some of them fold up so small that they clip to your keychain! You can't beat the convenience (and have no excuse not to have them with you at all shopping moments.)

Let's see if I kept five of the bags for myself, that still leaves me with 20 bags laying around. If there were roughly 1500 people at THIS convention alone and each and every person has 20 leftover tote bags - that equals about THIRTY THOUSAND bags that will either end up in a landfill or find themselves wadded up in a pantry somewhere for the next ten years.
That's not good.

Would you like to put them to use? I have a worthy cause.

It's called Operation Classroom.

As the Chairperson of Missions in my church, I have done collections for this organization over the past 4 or 5 years. There are many facets to this volunteer program, one being the collecting of school supplies and the assembling of "Y.E.S. Kits" out of tote bags. Once collected, Operation Classroom ships these MUCH needed supplies to their teams in Liberia and Sierra Leone. When received, they are handed out to the citizens there in hopes of helping them to rebuild their societies. Can't you just imagine the excitement in a small child's face when they are handed one of YOUR tote bags filled with longed for school supplies? Though it may be difficult to imagine in our country, but there, supplies are scarce. For instance, each teacher is allowed ONE stick of chalk to last the entire school year. You CAN make a difference!

I recently contacted Carolyn Wagner, one of the founders of Operation Classroom. She said these colorful tote bags would make GREAT Y.E.S Kits! Please consider sending yours. You can pick up soft Priority Mail envelopes for FREE at your local post office. Stuff them full of bags and send them to:

Operation Classroom Totes
PO Box 246
Colfax, IN 46035

They will make sure the bags get filled and boxed from there. If you are feeling EXTRA generous, tax-deductible donations can be made through their website. Also, if you would like to send your totes already filled with school supplies, please follow their shipping directions. Those types of donations will be sent to a different address with different procedures.

Please help me FLOOD the Wagner's mailbox with these totes (can you imagine 30,000 bags in your mailbox?) BlogHer sponsors gave so much - let's give back!!

If you are sending your bags to Operation Classroom, can you please leave a comment letting me know how many you are shipping? Let's watch this running total climb!

If you have any questions, please comment or email me at cheapo[dot]mcfrugalpants[at]gmail[dot]com . I will do my best at getting the answers you need. Thank you!!

***Added: I was able to pack all 12 of my tote bags into one of the USPS soft Priority Mail envelopes. I probably could have at least fit 15 in one package - it cost me $4.95 to send. It may cost more or less depending on where you live. I feel like that was a very small price to pay to donate free bags to a charity. I love being able to spread the love.***

Corrin from Oh Hey gets a Cheapo gold foil star for shipping SEVENTEEN bags!!
Thanks Corrin!


Corrin said...

Awesome! I'll be sending a package.

Toni said...

Thanks Corrin!!! I'm sending a package today. After giving a few bags to family, I'm sending 12 totes. I just love that they are going to good use. :) Something so simple to us can make a world of difference to someone in need :)

Karianna said...

Fabulous idea! I took mine filled with (brand new - from hotels, swag bags, etc.) toiletries to a local family stress center. I also gave a pile of free T-shirts and other such things. So much of what I might consider as "clutter" is really useful for a lot of folks.

Toni said...

That's GREAT Karianna! There are so many great places to donate useful items. It's just a matter of getting people the information and having them DO IT! :) I just hate the thought of all of that "clutter" sitting around or heading to a landfill when someone in the world could really need it. :)

Toni said...

Yeah!!! Corrin gets a gold star for shipping 17 bags!! The children thank you :)