The Crayon Initiative – A nonprofit that re-purposes used crayons for children’s hospitals
Back in 2001, when Bryan Ware went to dinner with his two young sons, he saw them occupied with the crayons provided before the food came. Bryan found out that crayons at restaurants were thrown away after the use. He then thought of a genius way to use them in children’s hospitals.
Bryan Ware founded The Crayon Initiative, a nonprofit organization that re-purposes old, used crayons into brand new crayons and distributes them to children’s hospitals. Bryan Ware is an entrepreneur and has a passion for the visual arts. Bryan’s friend who works at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, told Bryan that crayons donated to the hospital could have a tremendous positive impact.
I started wondering what happened to restaurant crayons after children used them and our waitress told us they were thrown away. It occurred to me there had to be a better use for them than sending them to landfills, said Bryan Ware.
Bryan collects old crayons from restaurants, schools, and day cares. He separates them by color and melts them down. Bryan Ware puts the wax into a triangular shape, which is easier to grip for small children and kids with special needs.
We worked with an occupational therapist to design the crayons, so they are easy for children to hold and they won’t roll off of the beds or trays. We do not wrap them in paper which can hold bacteria and we’ve had them tested to make sure bacteria from incoming crayons was killed during our processing.
The Crayon Initiative has already donated more than 2,000 boxes of crayons to the children’s hospitals. The organization is expanding now and looking for donations as well as volunteers.