Perhaps you have seen the strings of rainbow colored knick-knacks around town and wondered where they came from and what they mean. What started out as a small passion project to keep plastic lids out of landfills, has now become a fundraising effort for Lawrence non-profits! Sara Gillum, a resident of the Lawrence community, has been creating the “rainbow strings” since the pandemic began earlier this year. She collects plastic-y items, drills holes in them, strings them on fishing line, and gives them to folks in exchange for donations. Most people hang them in their trees or from their porches. All the money she collects from these strings gets passed onto non-profits in and around Lawrence.
At the beginning of creating these colorful plastic works of art, she started with collecting donations as a “general” fund and passed out $100 here and there to smaller groups who needed support during COVID. Sara’s thinking was that $100 would make a much larger impact to smaller groups around town than some of the bigger non-profits. As the word spread about the strings, Sara tried out a new strategy and pre-made 15 strings specifically as a fundraiser for her youngest child’s pre-school, the Lawrence Community Nursery School. They sold out lightning fast and Sara began to think this was a very interesting way to raise money!
To her growing online Facebook community, she said “Hey! I have 30 strings ready to be sold and all the money is going to the Lawrence Humane Society!” The pre-made rainbow strings were all claimed in less than 24 hours! As a stay-at-home mom, she says she doesn’t even want to try and add up all the hours she’s put into this project with all the waves of popularity it’s sparked over the past few months. “It’s like I’ve suddenly volunteered for a 60 hour/week unpaid job! But it feels so good to pass all this money to non-profits in Lawrence.” Not only is Sara raising money to support her community, but she’s also repurposing pieces of plastic that would have otherwise been thrown away to live almost forever in a landfill!
Since Sara began this project back in April, she has given over $5,000 dollars to local non-profits like Just Food, Lawrence Community Shelter, Ladybird Diner, One Hundred Good Women, Lawrence Mutual Aid Network, and numerous others. Her generous efforts raised over $500 for the Lawrence Humane Society alone!
“It blows me away how many amazingly kind and generous people we have in Lawrence (and surrounding areas)!” Sara says.
In the midst of all this exciting fundraising, Sara and her family added a very special member to their family. Back in August, Sara’s family adopted Jinx from the Lawrence Humane Society, who at the time was only 14 weeks old! Isn’t he the cutest?!
If you are interested in your own rainbow string, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and check out her Facebook for the latest updates. If you would like to gather lids and other materials to supply Sara, please give them a quick soak in hot-soapy water to cut down on potential germs. Sara has even created a video showing you how to drill holes into the plastic pieces if you want to go a step farther in helping support her rainbow string project.
“I’ve had several people ask if they can help drill lids, so I made a video explaining what I do, for anyone who is interested. Please remember that there is risk for injury! I don’t want anyone to feel obligated. Please drill at your own risk! And kids don’t try this at home!”
Sara is interested in coming up with rainbow creations for as long as people are interested in them! Sara says “I love the idea that every rainbow creation is a visual representation of all the help that has gone to a local non-profit, and therefore, members of our community.”