The Sulphur Springs Middle School eighth grader simply had a desire to help teens in shelters who aren’t as fortunate as her by hosting a local “Jeans For Teens” drive to contribute to DoSomething, Aéropostale and P.S. from Aéropostale’s annual Teens for Jeans effort. The groups have partnered with over 1,000 homeless shelters across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Jeans collected will be donated to a homeless shelter near the area they originated, according to DoSomething.org.
So, Boyett took the idea to the SSMS Student Council, who embraced it. The idea took off and was promoted at the school.
Within the first two days, the SSMS box had collected 34 pairs of jeans; their goal was 200 pairs of jeans between Jan. 28 and Feb. 8. Sulphur Springs Public Library and Guaranty Bond Bank agreed to host drop boxes to collect donations of jeans that are used but in good condition, and Boyett reached out to local media sources, asking for help getting the word out to the local community as well.
To sweeten the deal, the students were told to aim high. The school to collect the most jeans could win $10,000, a pizza party and hoodies for the entire student body. So students were asked to clean out their closets and “bring those jeans that are too tight, too short, don’t fit, are out of style or that they just don’t want any longer to school and drop them off in the collection box.” All sizes and colors of jeans are accepted, to help the “one in three people under the age of 18” in homeless shelters hoping to feel normal in an abnormal situation.
By Thursday, Jan. 31, with a week still to go, the drive had already netted 150 pairs of jeans from the “big hearted community.” Seeing an opportunity to do good, the goal was doubled. The 13-year-old and SSMS Student Council hoped to collect 150 more pairs of jeans, so they’d have a total of 300 to donate to kids in shelters. Sulphur Springs Elementary School, upon hearing of the drive, set up a drop box and collected a whopping 117 pairs of jeans in two days.
When Boyett began loading up her mom’s vehicle with donated jeans, it soon became apparent they’d need another vehicle to get all of the jeans to the Aéropostle store in Firewheel. All together, the Sulphur Springs collections netted 625 pair of jeans — more than triple the original goal.
“We were blown away by the response. It took two of our vehicles to get the jeans to Aéropostle,” said Jeanine Boyett, Emma’s mom. “The manager could not believe that our small town had such a turn out. Then they challenged Emma to see if she could do more. We were told that the deadline has been extended until the 22nd.”
With that much more time to get more people in the community involved, the Sulphur Springs drive is being extended, and several other schools and businesses are supporting the effort to try to meet the new goal Emma has set at 2,500 pairs of donated jeans. Even Chamber of Commerce President Meredith Caddell has pledged her support for the drive.
Joining SSMS, Sulphur Springs Public Library, SSES and Guaranty Bond Bank as drop sites are: Bowie Primary School, Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, Douglas Intermediate School, Early Childhood Learning Center, Lamar Primary, Tractor Supply Co., Echo Publishing and Travis Primary. Paris Junior College-Sulphur Springs campus Director Andrew Fisher Wednesday morning also indicated the campus is interested in helping out. Drive coordinators also plan to contact some area churches to see if they will agree to host drop boxes for jeans or mention the drive during their announcements.
Boyett has also gotten approval to hold a two-hour drive on the downtown square Sunday, Feb. 17, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Just look for Emma, her family and friends and bring those lightly used jeans.
|< Prev||Next >|