The Crayon Initiative brings art to children's hospitals

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Volunteers are helping to give thousands of children a reason to smile. CSAA Insurance partnered with the Crayon Initiative to bring new crayons to children's hospitals across the country.

It's a simple concept -- take a product that's considered old or broken and make it useful again.

"When the crayons come in, they're all mixed together, so we have to sort them out by color so we can melt them down to make new crayons and individual colors," Brian Ware said.

But the Crayon Initiative is so much more than recycling, as the new crayons are delivered to children in hospitals around the country.

Since starting the Crayon Initiative in 2014, Ware has made it his mission to collect every broken, busted and worn down nub of a crayon from restaurants, camps, schools and private donations to make this all possible... and it shows.

"Each year is an exponential growth, it's been pretty in terms of crayons coming in, the support coming in," he said.

In 2017, the initiative delivered 37,000 packs of crayons to children's hospitals. In 2018, that number grew to 155,000 packs and their goal this year is more than 250,000.

So what keeps Brian's motivation? He says a look at the big picture.

"We get the letters from the patients, we get letters from the parents of, as sad as it is, the last time they saw their child smile was when they got the crayons, so that is what drives us to keep going," he said.