The Re-Pack Project came about when Travel With Kids host, Seamus, noticed the lack of supplies in a school we were visiting in Africa. As the school year back at home came to a close, he thought about all the school supplies he and his peers would throw away and wondered if there was a way to put those supplies to good use. And, the Re-Pack Project was born.
Seamus, and his brother and Travel With Kids co-host, Nathan, organized a group of kids (many of whom were traveling with us on a Travel With Kids Family Adventure tour to South Africa at which time we will deliver the supplies) to place boxes around school. Instead of throwing school supplies away as kids were cleaning out lockers and desks at the end of the year, they were encouraged to donate them.
And donate them, they did! In its first year, at only one school, the Re-Pack Project collected almost 10,000 items including pens and pencils, erasers and rulers, notebooks, folders and binders and backpacks. These are items that would most likely have ended up in a land fill. Each night, a group of kids would come home and sort the supplies, clean them up, test the pens and markers, etc. After the school year had ended and all the supplies had been collected, the kids sorted the thousands of supplies into backpacks – each backpack got a binder with dividers and looseleaf paper, three notebooks, folders, notecards, a ruler, and a pencil box with pens, markers, colored pencils, pencils and pencil sharpener. The end result is 60 backpacks – about 50 going to Africa on the Travel With Kids tour in conjunction with DSA Vacations: Pay It Forward along with teacher supplies and program materials from the Be Kind People Project. The rest of the backpacks, plus extra supplies, going to UMOM New Day Centers, a family homeless shelter in Arizona.