Cardboard boxes, bearing the words “PROJECT FOR HAITI” scrawled in marker, have been filling up with receipts at McKinley’s for the last two weeks. The elusive boxes have since disappeared from the counters at McKinley’s and students have been asking: Where did they go? Who was in charge? And how can old receipts help Haiti?
Annie Morino, ’13, had the original idea of making notepads out of McKinley’s receipts to sell for Haiti relief.
“All year, I’ve taken my McKinley’s receipts and flattened them out,” Morino said. “After I get more than my pencil holder can hold down, I staple them together to make a post-it note pad. It was a good way to save my beloved Post-its for important stuff, and recycle the receipts.”
Morino’s idea launched at a Bonner-Davies MOVE convocation in January.
“We were trying to come up with a way to fundraise for Haiti at the MOVE convocation,” Morino said. “They stuck about eight students in a room and said, ‘Talk about it.’ So we brainstormed, and thought about inexpensive ways to fundraise. I suggested that we sell post-it note packages using the receipts. All you need to purchase are the staples, and you have a very profitable fundraiser.”
Putting together the notebooks has been a project for several students.
“I didn’t have time to get more involved than producing an idea, but I told Brooke [Templin] that she should run with it if she had time,” Morino said. “It’s the biggest compliment that they used the idea, and it is so great that the project seems to be so successful. McKinley’s employees went along with it and it was useful for students to have a place to put their receipts.”
Brooke Templin, ’13, also attended the MOVE convocation and is one of the coordinators of the project.
“I am the one who is kind of helping organizing it,” Templin said. “I say kind of because it was really Annie Morino’s idea, and my friends Sahar Arbab and Emily Milbert [both ‘13] are also the main leaders. Sahar and Emily are very big into the environmental thing, so they really wanted to make sure that we were recycling in the process.”
The students collected enough receipts to fill at least two garbage bags, according to Templin.
“They piled up quickly,” Templin said. “It’s a little ridiculous how much they go through in a day at McKinley’s. We’ve also been getting old cardboard boxes – cereal box kind of things – and cutting them up to provide the backing.”
Sahar Arbab, ’13, encourages opening up the project to other student crafts.
“We wanted to make something that was little to no cost that we could sell to Allegheny students,” Arbab said. “We also have talked to the Knitting Club and they agreed to make scarves and hats to sell too. We are still accepting possible donated crafts that could also be sold.”
The project is also designed to allow students to assist with the developmental process and to have a say about where to direct the funds raised.
“It’s mostly the three of us working on it, although the International Club did let us come to one of their meetings all the members helped assemble them,” Templin said. “People will be able to choose which organization they want their dollar to go to: World Vision, where Allegheny actually has had an alumna working down for the branch in Haiti for a few years, Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation or to building a new orphanage in Haiti.”
The students plan to sell the notebooks and crafts after Spring Break. The proposed price is $1 for each notebook. They intend to include fact sheets focusing on Haitian culture and history with the purchases.
“What is important to us is that Haiti is not forgotten,” Arbab said. “We don’t want this crisis to only bring focus to Haiti for a short period of time. Along with this project we want to focus on Haitian culture and history. It is sad that in the United States we often only pay attention to another country when it becomes part of a news story. Haiti has a wonderful culture and Americans should be aware of it.”