Sometimes a simple question can turn into a magnificent journey.
For Bryan Ware, the question was what in the world happens to the crayons in restaurants after a table leaves? As it turns out, most of them would just get tossed in the trash, whether they were used or even touched by the people who sat there.
It was 2011 and Ware was out for his birthday dinner with his wife and two children when he learned of the tragic end for so many colorful tools, and all he could do from there on out was think about how to fix it. He started collecting restaurant crayons and set off on a journey to make sure they'd end up with as many children as possible.
By 2013, he had founded a nonprofit organization called The Crayon Initiative. Their goal was simple: take old or unusable crayons, repurpose them, and then get them into the hands of children in hospitals all over the country.
"From my perspective, the biggest goal is to give them an escape," Ware told The Mighty. "I can't even fathom what these kids are going through. If these crayons give them an escape from that hospital room for ten minutes, we did our job."
It all starts with a big melting party.
But that's the easy part.
Then they have to strain out the paper and separate by the colors that they want.
It looks like this.
Next up is the mold...
Then the bake..
The Crayon Initiative has given out more than 2,000 boxes of crayons to children's hospitals all over the state of California. Ware, a resident of San Francisco, says they hope to do their first out-of-state delivery to New York City this September.
In an interview with The Mighty, Wear expressed his hope that the crayons aren't just good fun, but help give children who are facing a challenge that lands them in the hospital the opportunity to express themselves artistically.
By the time they get their crayons, this is what they look like:
To learn more about the program, check out their website.