Video: How One Man Is Using Old Crayons to Make Children Smile

Ben Graham | May 12, 2016
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Sometimes, one really little idea can make a really big impact on the lives of a community. In this case, the idea starts with one old and discarded crayon.

This idea sparked in Bryan Ware after he watched a restaurant throw out bunches crayons from their used children’s menus. 

"They said they had to throw them away after it's been on the table," Ware told NBC's Gadi Schwartz. ”So that to me was just kind of a spark; there's got to be something we could do with them.”

So, Ware decided he would melt down and recycle these broken and abandoned crayons and gift them to children for free. Now, he collects more than 500 pounds of crayons per week.

Ware and hundreds of volunteers at The Crayon Initiative gather weekly to sort the massive amounts of crayons by color so they can go through Ware's recycling process.

The freshly boxed crayons are then sent to children at local hospitals.

"You would be surprised the things that come out when you put a piece of paper and some crayons in a kid's hand," Sara Devaney, who worked with the Children's Hospital in Oakland, said. "It's as important to their healing as the medications that they receive.”

“It provides them the ability to be whatever they want to be, dream whatever they want to be,” said Ware. “That right there is why we do this.”