Old jeans will become home insulation

Members of the Calico Clovers 4-H Club of Jefferson donated about 60 pairs of jeans to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore shop. (Frederick News-Post/Sam Yu)

Blue jeans are the common denominator of American closets.

But what is popular in the world of denim pants — flared, skinny, distressed, dark-washed — can change with the blink of an eye. And it is not uncommon for children to outgrow a pair of jeans over the course of one school semester.

That’s the idea behind the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore denim drive.

Not many people can donate an appliance or a piece of furniture, said project organizer Chelsea Boice, “but a lot of people have denim.”

Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets accept donated goods that are then sold to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

The proceeds help fund the construction of Habitat houses in nearby communities.

The collected denim will not be resold. It will go toward the creation of cotton fiber-based insulation for Habitat for Humanity houses.

And it is a way for people to contribute, even if they cannot give money or larger used goods, Boice said.

The drive is also a way to raise awareness of the organization, she said.

“We just want people to kind of know about ReStore so in the future if they have something to donate or they’re remodeling, they come to us,” Boice said.

The community has been receptive to the drive. Nine groups — including churches, schools and children’s recreational organizations — have signed on to participate, according to Boice.

“I just thought it was something that most people would easily embrace,” said Diane Walker, who brought the drive to Brook Hill United Methodist Church. She mentioned the collection in the congregation’s monthly newsletter and weekly bulletin, and people seem excited about it, she said.

“We’re always looking for community service-type projects to do,” said Sally Arnold, leader of the Calico Clovers 4-H Club. “Everybody has jeans. It wasn’t something that cost the club anything to do.”

Arnold sees the drive as a learning opportunity for 4-H members.

“I think it just teaches kids not to throw stuff out the window, you know? The more we recycle, the better off we are,” she said.

Insulation for one house requires 500 pairs of jeans. so the ReStore’s goal is to collect 1,000 pairs, Boice said.

The organization is also looking to raise about $1,500 to ship the denim to where it is needed.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore denim drive runs through April 21. For more on the drive, contact Chelsea Boice at cboice@frederickhabitat.org or visit Habit for Humanity’s website.

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