Westerville's We Love the Earth, Kids Environmental Club repurposes items for cause

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Westerville South High School freshman Moira Hogan, who founded the We Love the Earth, Kids Environmental Club, delivers “birthday-party-in-a-box” kits to the Westerville Area Resource Ministry on Nov. 4, 2020.

Westerville South High School freshman Moira Hogan loves the earth, so she started a club to raise awareness about environmental issues and take action.

Moira, 15, founded “We Love the Earth, Kids Environmental Club” when she was a student at Blendon Middle School about a year and a half ago.

After reading and talking to others about the environment online, she said, she discovered a lot of youths care about the future of the planet. 

“I thought it would be good to start a club and raise awareness,” she said.

Club participation was small in the beginning but since has grown to about 50 youths of all ages, Moira said.

The club has a website at welovetheearthkids.com and is on Instagram: @we_love_the_earth_kids.

On the website's homepage is a description of its purpose:

"We are a group of environmentally conscious kids of all ages. We are committed to making the world a better place. We gather, we talk, we visit, we make, all in the hope to make a difference. We focus on recycling and reusing materials into new creations that can help those in need. By sharing our projects on this site, hopefully others will get project inspirations to help in the area where they live."

Moira said the project she has found the most meaningful thus far was when club members upcycled small toys for guests at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House last year. 

“I thought doing this for all these kids who didn’t have toys or things to look at would make their time as enjoyable as it could be,” she said.

Moira’s mother, Meagan Hogan, said it was a massive effort to collect used, small toys and clean them, sort them and turn them into wreaths to decorate the 122 guestroom doors at the Ronald McDonald House.

Moira Hogan tests an upcycled cat toy to donate to an animal shelter with her adopted shelter cat, River, on Jan. 22.

Another project the club recently completed was 22 “birthday-party-in-a-box” kits that were donated to the food pantry at the Westerville Area Resource Ministry for children who could use basic birthday-party supplies.

Meagan Hogan said each box has cake mix and frosting, plates, napkins, candles, a cupcake tin, decorations and a small gift. 

“With the birthday boxes, many of the decorations are leftover extra party supplies that people in the club donated,” she said. “Some items are supplied new, but these boxes are decorated with leftover scrap paper and filled with many fun surprises.”

Julia Smith, WARM manager of volunteer services, said it has been an honor to partner with the Hogans on several projects. 

“They are always enthusiastic and full of fresh ideas,” Smith said. 

We Love the Earth, Kids Environmental Club members Lucy (left) and Adele Johnson work on upcycled cat and dog toys to donate to local animal shelters.

Smith began working with many of the students in the club when they were part of National Junior Honor Society at their middle school.

“They would come and pack meals for students in need in Westerville schools,” she said. “From there, a natural partnership grew from shared service and care for the community as they developed their new environmental club.” 

The day after the birthday-party boxes were dropped off, Smith said, WARM happened to welcome a new client. 

“They had recently been evicted and were living out of their car,” she said. “The day of their visit happened to be their daughter’s birthday, and the mom mentioned to our resource coordinator that they had nothing for the little girl.

“We were immediately able to pull out a birthday box for this little girl and offered her a little sunshine on her special day – a birthday party in a box,” Smith said.

Moira said club members have been working at their individual homes on upcycled dog and cat toys and collecting dog beds and blankets for Colony Cats & Dogs and the CHA Animal Shelter to be delivered around Valentine’s Day.

“We asked club members to donate old fabric or socks and craft supplies, and we divided it into to-go bags so club members could make their own,” she said.

Currently, Moira said, the club is collecting gently used winter clothes to donate to Westerville students in need. 

To contact the club, email enviromoira@gmail.com.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla