Students weave project for the homeless

Students weave lessons into project for the homeless
Posted on 05/26/2021
Morganton, NC – Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Elementary school students across the district read “The Great Kapok Tree” as this year’s One Book, One District selection. The book is about a woodcutter who has a change of heart about trees in a rainforest after being visited by forest critters in his sleep. The book prompted special activities at each school, including drive-through reading nights, arts and crafts and earth friendly projects.

Salem Elementary School chose the latter and coupled their project with another story, “One Plastic Bag,” which is about one woman’s journey to recycle plastic bags. The stories inspired students to start collecting plastic bags instead of tossing them in the trash. They found a creative way to reuse the bags and turn them into “plarn” -- or plastic yarn. The students solicited help from family members and friends with crochet skills to turn the plarn into sleeping mats.

On Tuesday, third-grade students presented one of the mats to Mike Chandler, pastor of Summit Community Church. The students demonstrated for Chandler how they turned plastic bags into plarn balls and ultimately a mat. Chandler explained to the students how he planned to give the mat to a homeless person in Morganton. The students said in addition to saving the environment, the mats have several benefits for the homeless, including staving off dampness and insects.

Chandler said, “We serve a meal to the homeless community every Monday night, so we have a good connection to the homeless community. Through some people we know through our church or at Burke United Christian Ministries, we will make sure that this gets in the hands of a homeless person who will have a good night’s rest for many, many days on this. Thank you very much.”

Burke County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan said, “Our One Book, One District initiative is something I look forward to every year. As a district, we try to choose a book that will be meaningful and fun and offer life lessons to our students. I am always amazed at how creative our staff and students are with the projects that come out of this initiative. Kudos to these Salem students for taking an interest in the environment and humanity and coming up with a selfless project for our community.”
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