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Butterfly Effect Project to receive $10,000 for Rags to Riches program

The Riverhead Town Board has agreed to grant The Butterfly Effect Project $10,000 toward the nonprofit’s “Rags to Riches” clothing recycling program.

The Butterfly Effect Project’s founder, Tijuana Fulford, asked the board for the funding out the the town’s recycling account at Thursday’s Town Board work session. The town has $40,000 in funds dedicated to recycling initiatives, such as the Riverhead High School Key Club’s recycling education program.

Butterfly Effect’s recycling program currently operates out of volunteers’ homes and is paid for by those involved as well. The organization would like the funds to cover start-up expenses such as clothing racks, ironing boards, irons and cleaning products.

Volunteers pick up unwanted clothing and sports equipment throughout the community. Then local girls who participate in the program wash, press and clean the clothing and sporting goods, which are donated to local families. Any items that are not given to those in need are sold to Savers, which sends items that can’t be used to underdeveloped countries.

The Butterfly Effect Project is a social program that helps preteens build confidence and live life to its fullest while staying out of trouble. Its recycling program is a way for those girls to learn about giving back, Ms. Fulford wrote in a letter to the town.

“It teaches them life skills, as well as giving back to their community, and to other countries as well,” Ms. Fulford said.

The organization has moved 500 pounds of clothing out of the local waste stream and the goal is to grow the initiative to remove a total of 2,000 pounds in the next year, Ms. Fulford said.

The funds will be made official with a resolution at the next Town Board meeting, officials agreed.

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Photo caption: Tijuana Fulford shows bags of donated clothes The Butterfly Effect Project has collected. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)