Diya Garg sanitizes crayons she receives from restaurants, before distributing them to local low-income students. Courtesy photo/Diya Garg.

Diya Garg sanitizes crayons she receives from restaurants, before distributing them to local low-income students. Courtesy photo/Diya Garg.

Getting crayons to kids runs in the family

Eastside nonprofit Mighty Crayon is relaunched by younger sister of founder, repurposing used restaurant crayons

When a sophomore in high school gets a $20 week allowance, they might usually spend it on going out to eat with friends or a new video game. But one Newport High School student is using her chore money to re-launch her brother’s nonprofit.

Diya Garg remembers coloring at various family restaurants as a kid, and said she thought about how she only used the provided crayons for a few minutes until the food came. When they leave the table, what happens next?

Growing up, her older brother Amol Garg began a nonprofit, Mighty Crayon, donating the lightly-used crayons from restaurants to nearby schools, as previously reported in Redmond Reporter. But as he got older, the nonprofit ended in 2018.

As COVID-19 pandemic hung overhead, school moved virtual and restaurant dining halted, Diya Garg said she was thinking more and more about these crayons. She felt like it was a huge waste.

That’s when she restarted Mighty Crayon in June.

The nonprofit in 2017 was, in it’s peak, receiving crayons from all over the U.S. Now, essentially having to start from the ground up again, Diya has been reaching out to local chain restaurants to get donated crayons.

For pandemic safety precautions, she sanitizes the crayons, before sorting them by color and repackaging them. Diya said she pays close attention to the safety details as she creates the crayon-and-coloring-book kits, including leaving them to sit for a few days and packaging it while wearing gloves and a mask. She then delivers the crayons with premade coloring books to low-income students throughout the Seattle region.

Diya said she was particularly drawn to donating crayons because of her love of art.

“I want to spread that love and creativity to other people. I think that even just one chance, can inspire people to do art for the rest of their life,” she said.

So far she has done two to three deliveries of crayons a month to several Seattle School District schools. Following her diligent calling of restaurants and creating a monthly newsletter, Diya started getting more donations.

She got to also see some of the kids receiving the crayons in a socially-distant event for Seattle students. She said seeing kids excited to receive the art supplies makes her more eager to continue.

Also due to the pandemic, she hasn’t been able to hold any fundraising events and get sponsors, so she said she uses a $20 weekly allowance she receives from doing chores around the house to pay for printing out the coloring books she distributes.

Diya said she was raised by her parents to enjoy helping others. Her brother Amol, now in college, said he’s happy to see a future for Mighty Crayon lives on with her.

“I founded Mighty Crayon to help others and make a positive difference so I was sad to stop the efforts when I went to college,” Amol said. “I’m happy that Diya has been able to start things up again, she’s already doing a great job and I’m excited to see what she’ll do with Mighty Crayon in the future.”

Anyone interested in supporting Mighty Crayon, volunteering or learning more about its journey can visit the Mighty Crayon Facebook page.

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Diya Garg, left, distributes Mighty Crayon recycles crayons and coloring books for Seattle students. Courtesy photo/Diya Garg.

Diya Garg, left, distributes Mighty Crayon recycles crayons and coloring books for Seattle students. Courtesy photo/Diya Garg.

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