Commonwealth Journal

Local News

January 26, 2013

Hopkins student ‘bags’ donations for humane society

Somerset —  

A local elementary school student is garnering quite a bit of attention for reaching out to one local community organization through a “reusable” tote bag project. 
Hopkins Elementary School fourth-grader Josie Watkins, 9, has been making her home-made tote bags — made out of empty dog food, cat food and bird feed bags, among other materials — for around a year, with the help of her family. 
“It takes about 15 to 30 minutes,” said Josie, about how long it takes to complete a tote. 
The “green” idea behind the bags is a worthy cause in itself, but Josie isn’t stopping there. She’s also selling the bags for $5 to $20, depending on the size of the bag, and passing the proceeds along to a local non-profit organization.
And on Thursday, she was able to hand over $105 to Connie Rakestraw, with the Pulaski County Humane Society, as a result of her efforts.
“It just blows my mind to see someone so young want to participate like this,” said Rakestraw, who said the humane society seeks to educate young children about the importance of community work and volunteering with non-profits. “To have them participate at this age is just wonderful.”
The bags are a Watkins family activity. Josie, her father Steve Watkins, her mother Jenny Watkins, and her younger sister Lilly all pitch in to make the colorful bags — complete with patterned duct tape and practical shoulder straps. 
“I just started making a lot of them,” said Josie. 
Steve Watkins said the kitchen is usually “taken over” by tote supplies after dinner time. 
“It’s definitely a family affair,” said Steve.
Anyone who wishes to help out can donate empty animal food bags, the ones made with the heavy plastic material, to Hopkins School, or to the Humane Society. 
“It would be great if people were willing to donate bags they’ve used,” said Steve.

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