Thu September 22, 2011

Henry Daily News logo

USAgain kicks off East Lake partnership

East Lake Elementary School has joined schools around the nation participating in a clothing collections program benefiting the needy worldwide.

#The east McDonough school is partnering with USAgain, a green for-profit company based in Chicago, Ill. The company collects used clothes and resells them to needy families, in part, to conserve natural resources and greenhouse gases used in the production of clothing.

#USAgain, pronounced "use again," has helped divert millions of pounds of clothing and textiles from landfills each year, according to USAgain CEO Mattias Wallander.

#Wallander said that the company, which collected 56 million pounds of clothing from some 10,000 collection bins nationwide in 2010, offers schools fund-raising opportunities designed to educate school communities and develop their awareness of textile recycling. The schools earn funds based on the poundage collected.
#"We are thrilled to announce these new school partnerships," said Wallander. "Supporting recycling education in local school systems has always been a priority for USAgain."

#Participating schools keep drop boxes on their campuses for faculty, students and the community to donate clothes and shoes. East Lake's Assistant Principal Stacey Barnes expects the school will keep its USAgain drop box as long as the USAgain company offers the collections project.

#Barnes acknowledged the three-fold benefits for students taking part in donating their used clothes - helping the environment, helping the less fortunate, and helping raise money for their school.

#"It makes them aware that we're helping other countries with clothing and shoes, and as a result of lending a helping hand, we benefit with funds to help with items... [that] help with education," said Barnes. "It all goes back to the classroom. All of our money will be spent on something to benefit all of the children at East Lake."

#Barnes said money raised will go directly to the school's Parent-Teacher Organization, which will decide how the money will be spent. She noted the school does have a wish list for when additional money becomes available, including playground equipment and novel sets for the classroom.

#East Lake has benefited before from a similar drive in 2010, according to Barnes. Then, the school took first place in the ‘1 Warm Kid' coat drive sponsored by children's retailer P.S. and Aéropostale. The school beat out nearly 100 schools nationwide by collecting and donating 387 gently-used coats for needy children last October. It earned the school a $5,000 award.

#Barnes said the elementary school also participates in "Box Tops for Education."

#She said, "we do a lot that's not for gain." The school collects "pop tops" for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and continues not-for-profit efforts in recycling newspapers, aluminum and plastic.

#To learn more about USAgain, visit