BENEFITING: Thomas Merton Center, Inc.
I am the founder of The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, a project of the Thomas Merton Center. We collect new and gently used tote bags to distribute at the region's food pantries. In our first 17 months, we've collected over 19,000 bags - tote bags, backpacks, gym bags and more. We've also collected and distributed 3,000+ swag items.
Got Bag? is our initiative to distribute bumper stickers and window clings to remind people to take their tote bags - we are going to literally ask them "Do you 'got' your bag?" when they get to the car! And get the "Got Bag?" message into the community.
Often folks will ask us "How do you know the food pantry clients are reusing the bags?" I typically respond - "Well, how do I know you are reusing your bags?" Building a culture of reuse is a true challenge in a society that makes disposing of stuff so easy. Tote bags are everywhere, but how often do you find yourself standing in line at the store when you realize the bags are 1) at home 2) in the car or 3) anywhere but with you?
The truth is that necessity dictates changes in our behavior. Ask anyone who relies on public transportation or walks to grocery shop - their incentive to remember their bags is a lot higher than those of us with the privilege of relying on a vehicle. So let's turn that opportunity to let the bags slide from our memory until its too late into -- a project!
Your donation will help us have a very cool Pittsburgh based graphic designer create a memorable image asking folks "Got Bag?" ... and pay for production of bumper stickers and static window clings. These will be distributed in the general public at our outreach events and via our website. We'll also use them at our permanent drop-off spots to encourage people to remember to donate their gently used bags.