We all know someone who goes way above and beyond to serve their community and one such person in the Oneonta, NY community is longtime resident Megan Tannenbaum who created a "The Great Crayon Project" in 2018 with the simple desire to upcycle broken or unwanted used crayons into new, multi-colored crayons in a variety of shapes. She exchanges old unwanted crayons for the new ones in a wide variety of shapes that she and her children make. This whole idea has become so successful that Tannenbaum and her family, since they started The Great Crayon Project, have donated over 7,074 crayons, exchanged over 5,108 crayons, and donated over 10,522 school supplies items after selling crayons in their online store! It's gone national and it's all not-for-profit. Look how cool these crayons are!

Megan Tannenbaum making new crayons from old ones
Megan Tannenbaum making new crayons from old ones
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Now we're going to fast forward to 2021-2022, after someone close to the Tannenbaum family became ill with COVID-19, they wanted to do something to help children with COVID feel better and Megan's son, 6-year-old Elliot decided that he wanted to make gift bags for kids and donate them to his pediatrician's office in the Foxcare Center (Dr. William Fredette, Bassett Healthcare). The first round of gift bags was 40 gift bags and Elliot, a.k.a. "The Gift Bag Kid", wants to keep doing it and donate bags to sick children at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown. He has also donated some bags to inpatient children at Syracuse Children's Hospital where his own younger brother spent some time as an inpatient.

Elliot, a.k.a. "The Gift Bag Kid" (via Megan Tannenbaum)
Elliot, a.k.a. "The Gift Bag Kid" (via Megan Tannenbaum)
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I had the chance to speak with Elliot about his gift bag project and excitement was exploding out of him as he talked about picking out items to put into the gift bags. He makes sure to include items that are fun activities kids can do to fill a few hours in the day to take their minds off of their illness. He says he loves doing it and wants to keep going to bring as many smiles to kids as he can.

If you would like to support his efforts to keep going, you can give to his Gofundme page - Gift Bags For Kids With COVID. His goal is to raise $1000 and the amount raised currently is at $390. The other way Elliot is supporting this gift bag project is by making eye-spy jars and creating other products for people to purchase in an Etsy store called GardentasticGiftShop that he and his older sister Lucy operate. All proceeds from the sale of their products go to the Gift Bag Project. This just shows you how committed Elliot is to continuing handing out his gift bags to sick kids!

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And for those of you who would like to unload your old crayons to be upcycled for the Great Crayon Project, just visit thegreatcrayonproject.com/what-we-do and learn how to donate or exchange them.

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