Green books rescue program

December 4, 2009 (GLEN ELLYN, Ill.) The book rescue program has been "green" long before it was en vogue. With a mission to inspire people through education to preserve and care for the earth's natural resources - they are doing it one book at a time.

It's a teacher's paradise here in the Glen Ellyn warehouse.

"Sometimes you see things that are out here that our school district doesn't even have," said Lashawn Washington, Teacher.

Lashawn Washington says she makes bi-weekly visits here to shop for her school. She's always on the look-out for materials that can help with testing.

"In some suburban areas they're on a higher level than we are, so they may introduce chemistry in eighth grade or some form of it whereas our children never realize it until high school. But on the test, there's chemistry on the test," said Washington.

Teachers can take away as much as they want for free. It's part of the book rescue program run by an organization called "School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education" or SCARCE for short. The concept is simple. They collect unwanted books and give them to people who need them. Schools often donate complete sets of textbooks when they change curriculums.

"Almost every week we here somebody say it's like Christmas here, almost single every week. But the other side is we get people who are so glad that there's a place to bring their things, like retired teachers bring us bulletin board items. Well, when you're new teacher, all of that stuff is expensive to get your classroom started," said Kay McKeen, SCARCE founder.

SCARCE also makes "super crayons." The process starts by separating donated crayons and packaging usable ones in old candy containers to be redistributed. Broken crayons are melted to create extra large and creatively shaped new ones. Most are donated to children with special needs.

"If a child isn't ready for a grip, he may be able to grab and just wherever there's a point, he can color. He doesn't have to have a regular pencil grip," said Sandy Bauer, Volunteer.

SCARCE also distributes to other groups that ship books and school supplies across the country and overseas to help those in need.

"Taxpayers win, teachers win, kids win and that resource didn't go to a landfill so the environment wins," said Kay McKeen, SCARCE Founder.

The people at SCARCE say they have diverted over three million books from landfills since they started eighteen years ago.

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