New Orleans nonprofit gives pearls new life after Mardi Gras
NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
NEW ORLEANS – Mardi Gras officially made its return to New Orleans this week with celebrations that leave behind tons of trash every year.
MARDI GRAS RETURNS TO NEW ORLEANS AFTER A YEAR OFF: ‘LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!’
In 2018, for example, the city said it collected nearly 100,000 tons of beads from storm drains.
While the city’s sanitation department will focus on cleanup efforts over the next few days, if not weeks, the pearls are also being given new life thanks to a local nonprofit.
The Arc of Greater New Orleans (ArcGNO) has been at the forefront of Mardi Gras recycling efforts for three decades. The post-Carnival season is the busiest time of the year for the organization.
“In 2020, we received over 170 tons of donations,” said Sherrana McGee-Stemley, manager of the Mardi Gras Bead Store. “It was our biggest loot yet, and now we’re gearing up for even more.”
CARNIVAL SEASON BEGINS IN NEW ORLEANS
From beads and boas to stuffed animals, ArcGNO’s recycling center recovers almost anything that could be thrown from a parade float.
While millions of these items will end up in city landfills or storm drains, ArcGNO’s Mardi Gras Bead Shop sells recycled beads to krewes for future parades.
“The cycle doesn’t end at Mardi Gras,” McGee-Stemley said. “In New Orleans, we know how to put on parades, so we have them all year round. Now we’re getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day.”
ArcGNO has recycling bins in the greater New Orleans area where people can drop off their parade catches, but the nonprofit focuses on more than sustainability.
The center’s slogan is “We turn pearls into jobs”. It provides jobs for people with disabilities.
“We employ them year-round,” McGee-Stemley said. “They come here every day with a regular job, receive a regular salary, just like us, and we are able to support them in their daily lives.”
Proceeds from the bead shop allow the association to not only provide jobs, but also services, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy for children, and home services to help adults with disabilities. to become more independent. The group serves approximately 600 families.
THE BIBLICAL STORY BEHIND THE MARDI GRAS KING CAKE AND WHY YOU WILL FIND A PLASTIC BABY INSIDE
“When people bring their pearls here, they’re doing more than just recycling,” McGee-Stemley said. “They’re helping over 600 families be sure their loved ones are in good hands because we have the funding to do it.”