For quite some time this summer, Erek Hansen was feeling blue – very blue, in fact – but for the Jerusalem Elementary student, that was definitely a good thing.
From his Curtice home, Erek organized a denim drive that brought in a mountain of jeans – 1.684 pairs, as part of National Geographic Kids magazine’s effort to win the Guinness Book of World Record for the Most Items of Clothing Collected.
The nationwide drive brought in 33,088 items of clothing, including jeans, shirts, jackets and hats, which were displayed in a massive art installation at Union Station, Washington, D.C. through Aug. 27.
All of the collected denim will be donated to Cotton Incorporated’s “Cotton. From Blue to Green” denim drive program, which gives denim a second life by recycling it into UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation. The insulation is used in the restoration or construction of homes damaged by hurricanes, tornadoes and other national disasters.
The denim collected from the National Geographic Kids drive is expected to create enough material to insulate more than 60 homes.
For his outstanding efforts, Erek, who amassed the single largest collection sent from one person, was invited to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C. Aug. 12.
“We are so proud of him, and really grateful for the support of everyone who donated,” Erek’s mom, Amy said. “He held the collection in conjunction with a garage sale – though I think the garage sale really took a back seat to the collection.
“People came from all over bringing all kinds of jeans and overalls,” she said. “We shipped eight crates that were 4’ x 4’ x 4’ large and weighed 2,815 pounds.
“Erek saved a ton and a half of waste out of the local landfill and helped insulate over three homes for natural disaster victims,” she added.
“We’re delighted with the response we received from kids around the country,” said National Geographic Kids Editor in Chief Melina Bellows. “They embraced this project that involved their communities, benefits the environment and will help rebuild many homes.”
This is the fourth Guinness World Record set by National Geographic Kids. In July 2008, the magazine achieved the record for the longest chain of shoes, 10,512 shoes tied together, heel-to-toe created a chain stretching nearly 1.65 miles.
In December 2006, the magazine collected 2,304 stuffed animals for the Largest Gathering of Stuffed Toys; and in November 2004, it set the record for the Longest Line of Footprints – 10.932 prints measuring almost two miles.
Erek Hansen amid the mountain of denim he collected in the National Geographic Kids magazine “Cotton. From Blue to Green” drive. The denim collected will be recycled into cotton fiber insulation.