Contributed photo
Lillian Grieger, Shadley Bunkowski, Hailey Fiskum and Olivia DeYounge stand with Marjorie Quammen in front of the large potato chip bag blanket last week.

A two year project has been completed.

For the past four years, Marjorie Quammen and Pam Wiese have held a reading challenge for Henning Elementary students. They have asked students to do a certain amount of reading for a month. Those boys and girls who have met the requirements have received an invitation to a cocoa party. These students pick out a mug, to call their own, and are served cocoa. They might hear a story being read and/or hear about an issue confronting the world, such as the endangerment of the monarch butterfly.

Two years ago, this year’s ixth grade reading challengers heard about a Chip Bag Project.

A spring  2022 issue of the Readers Digest featured a story about Eradajere Eleita, an environmentalist and student, from Detroit, Michigan. She started an up-cycling project that turned  empty foil-lined potato chip bags into sleeping bags for the homeless.

The bags were not recyclable because the  silvery lining, that helps the contents stay fresh and dry,cannot be separated from the outer material of the bag. So these bags go into the trash.

But here arose an opportunity. These empty bags were free, light-weight, water proof, and easy to carry. 

The bags were washed, trimmed and ironed together.

Mrs. Quammen challenged the then fourth grade readers asking them if they could gather enough bags  to make a “blanket” that could be donated to an area shelter. 

The students accepted the challenge. Announcements were made to the entire school and donations were accepted. Bags were readied to be ironed into strips and then blankets. 

Four blankets were the result. They will go to a shelter in the Fargo Moorhead area.

Back in Detroit, hundreds of blankets have been made. While it would have been easier just to buy some blankets, this project made an impact socially and environmentally. 

The Henning students also  thought a project like this could be a good one for organizations like a 4H club or National Honor Society.