FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2012
SANTA ROSA AND ESCAMBIA COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS COLLECT 74,000 PLASTIC BAGS FOR DEP EARTH DAY COMPETITION
~Schools donate plastic bags to Waterfront Rescue Mission to benefit the homeless~
Pensacola-area students help load the donation truck that will deliver the collected bags
to the Waterfront Rescue Mission
PENSACOLA – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Northwest District partnered with area schools and the Waterfront Rescue Mission for an Earth Day event where seven elementary schools in Santa Rosa and Escambia counties conducted plastic bag collection contests. Classes at each school held a friendly competition to see which class could collect the most bags in a week.
Together these seven schools collected more than 74,000 bags. This bag collection event provided an opportunity to teach students the importance of recycling and protecting the environment. Not only were these bags kept out of landfills, but they will be put to good use- for those in need.
“It is truly impressive to see how many bags will not be discarded in a landfill because of the efforts of these students,” said DEP Northwest District Director Shawn Hamilton. “I think this was truly a great way to recognize Earth Day and I am proud that DEP was a part of this community effort. This is a great example of ordinary actions creating extraordinary results.”
Students from the top classes at each school received a certificate, reusable shopping bag and a one day pass to any of Florida’s 160 award-winning state parks.
The schools that participated:
1. Bagdad Elementary in Santa Rosa County
2. Jim Allen Elementary in Escambia County
3. Bellview Elementary in Escambia County
4. A. K. Suter Elementary in Escambia County
5. Oakcrest Elementary in Escambia County
6. Lipscomb Elementary in Escambia County
7. St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Escambia County
The collected bags will be donated to the Waterfront Rescue Mission. Junction 242, a volunteer group associated with the mission, will crochet the bags into sleeping mats that will then be donated to the homeless. It takes 500 bags to produce one mat, which means 148 mats will be made with the supplies collected from the DEP Earth Day competition.
The 3’ x 6’ mats are lightweight and easy to carry, as each also has a crocheted shoulder strap. The sleeping mats are most often used under a sleeping bag or blanket and provide a little extra protection from hard surfaces and moisture.
Junction 242 is also running a Grocery Bag Collection Drive now through June 1. Bags are being collected at all Waterfront Rescue Mission Bargain Centers and Recycling & Donation Centers.
On June 2, Junction 242 will be meeting at the Milton WRM Bargain Center on Avalon Boulevard to teach others how to make the mats. For more information about the Waterfront Rescue Mission or the Junction 242 volunteer group contact the Waterfront Rescue Mission at (850)232-9615.