T-shirt tote bags for local food pantries

Emerson Kavulac, who attends preschool at the Kent State Child Development Center, gave a thumbs up to making T-shirt bags.

“We’re making bags,” Emerson said. “Out of T-shirts!”

Emerson’s parents, Michael and Carol Kavulac, were excited to bring their daughter to her second MLK Day of Service at Kent State. They attended their first event two years ago making literary kits for the United Way of Portage County, a project that helps provide books to families who otherwise can’t afford them. 

“I think it’s important to give back to the community, to give our time,” Carol Kavulac said. “We want to teach Emerson that that’s important as well, to contribute to her community. [We’re] trying to start her young and incorporate her into things that she’s old enough to participate in.”

Freshman chemistry pre-med major Lauren Jewell also joined in on the volunteering. Although she had completed volunteer work in the past, creating T-shirt bags was a new territory she was excited to take on.

“I try to do a different one every time I do a service day,” Jewell said. “I volunteered in high school so I really wanted to continue it. I just like to give back to the community.”

Those who attended joined together as they snipped and tied the ends of repurposed T-shirts together. The T-shirt bags that the volunteers made will go to local pantries to hold groceries.

“The T-shirt bags are actually going to a food pantry, the Campus Kitchen, where people can put their cans and stuff in the bags,” student leader Maya Ferguson said. “You never really think about some people really don’t have bags where they can transport food, so I thought this would be a cool idea. It’s my first time actually making the bags.”

The unused fabric gets passed on to the Socially Responsible Sweatshop, which transforms discarded fabrics into useful products.

Ferguson, a sophomore visual communication design major, joined in on the cutting and tying of fabrics not only because it was part of her job, but because of her drive to honor Martin Luther King Jr. 

“Helping is very important just to keep this day alive and keep him remembered,” Ferguson said. “[To] show the people in the community that he did a lot for this country, so we should give back and honor him.”

Contact Becca Sagaris at [email protected].