On Friday, August 12th teachers and program directors from around the city came to The Old Trail Printing Company's warehouse to fill their vehicles with free paper. Old Trail Printing, the Midwest's largest woman-owned commercial printing company, might have international customers, but when it comes to directing charitable efforts, they focus on their community.
This is, officially, the first year for the paper project. While Old Trail Printing has been giving away paper to local schools and organizations sporadically throughout their almost 50 years in business, this is the first time they have concentrated their donations into a one-day event. Old Trail Printing wanted to help out on a larger scale than previous years. “We were inspired by my daughter, Rebecca Howard, and her recent increased participation with local organizations”, explains Old Trail Printing principal Mike Held. “Rebecca and husband Scott lost their son Gabriel to SIDS in January of this year and wanted to commemorate his life by donating to and working with local charities. She came to us with the idea of donating paper to at-need programs in order to foster creativity and the arts in children.” Old Trail Printing's donation could not have come at a better time. With the budget cuts to nationwide arts programs, teachers and organizations are struggling to provide basic supplies like markers, crayons and paper.
Instead of waiting for someone to ask for the paper, Old Trail decided to organize the giveaway and actively reach out to directors and teachers who might need the paper. The supply has been available for some time now, however, they had to wait for the school districts to secure staffing for the 2011-2012 school year, another result of budget cuts. This past Friday, however, it all finally came together and everyone involved was extremely happy at the paper project's success. One recipient said, “Paper is a primary expense and this donation will enable continuance of our literacy focus and enable the savings to fund additional programming.” Another explained that she spends at least $600 out-of-pocket on supplies for her students. “It is nice to have some of the burden lifted from our own expenses.”
In addition to donating paper, Old Trail Printing has pledged an additional $250 to the class or group who submits images of the most creative way the paper was used. Seeing that the whole premise of the giveaway was to support the arts, pictures of the crafts and projects that the paper is used for will be emailed to the company for judging and they will gift the money for art supplies. All of these efforts will hopefully encourage and promote creativity and provide an outlet for the creative energy that is pent up in local children.
If you are interested in receiving information about the paper project next year or other future community events Old Trail Printing will be involved in, please email Julianne Kaercher at firstname.lastname@example.org.