Growing up, both my maternal and paternal grandparents were what some might call pack rats. They weren’t the hoarder types made infamous by reality television but all of them had grown up during the Great Depression and lived through a World War so they held on to items that others might just toss in the trash. Items that to them could at some point be reused or repurposed. They had a resourcefulness about them that seemed to fall away with subsequent generations.
I think it is incredibly important to teach my own children the idea of resourcefulness over resources. Limiting food waste, walking or biking instead of driving, and purchasing items second hand are some of the ways that I teach this to them. One of the more fun and creative ways I can teach this to them is through Upcycling and MECCA is the perfect resource for that! The shop is full of fabric scraps, old greeting cards, art supplies, wine corks, bottle caps, paper of all sorts, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, beading supplies, yarn, the list goes on and on.
They accept donations of all of these items along with a very extensive list of odds and ends. Where else can you donate these bread bag tags and keep them out of the landfill?
I save a lot of these types of items in a “be creative” box for my kiddos but whatever we can’t use I throw into a large box in my garage then donate it to MECCA when it starts to overflow. While I’m there it is fun to browse around and see if they have anything that I need for projects I’m currently working on. It’s this kind of donate and purchase mentality as well as fundraisers, and generous donations from the community that keep MECCA a viable resource.
They offer fantastic workshops for kids and adults. Some classes have included bottle cutting, basket weaving using old telephone wire, jewelry making, and mixed media mosaic design. They also hold kids workshops on Saturday mornings where kids get to produce things like sock creatures, and robots, all from items most people would just throw away.
An inexpensive source of supplies for artists and makers they provide many items to teachers absolutely free!
If you are in Eugene, Oregon and have not checked them out, I urge you to do so. If you are living anywhere else in the country, consider starting a MECCA type non-profit of your own.