'Odyssey Angels' make totes for food pantries

Creative students turn donated shirts into 'Tee-rific Totes' for carrying groceries

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  • Delaware Valley Middle Schools Odyssey of the Mind technical team members John-Lockwood (left) and Cole Miller tie fringes together (Photo provided)

  • Scarlett Weir (left) and Elena Cirello tie fringes together (Photo provided)

  • THe DVMS Odyssey of the Mind technical team delivers tote bags to food pantry director Nancy Potter, from top left: Scarlett Weir, Olivia Rowehl, Elena Cirello; middle, from left: John Lockwood, Griffin Kowal, Cole Miller (Photo provided)

  • Newly transformed bags, ready for toting (Photo provided)

How to make a 'Tee-riffic Tote'

With scissors, cut off the sleeves of a T-shirt and enlarge the collar opening to create a tanktop pattern.
Snip strips along the bottom of the shirt to create fringes.
Tie the fringes together to make a seam. Turned inside-out, the fringe seams form the bottoms of the tote bags.

— Delaware Valley Middle School's Odyssey of the Mind technical team made 150 reusable tote bags of out of recycled, gently used T-shirts, for donation to the Ecumenical Food Pantry at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Milford and Holy Trinity Food Pantry in Dingmans Ferry.

The team includes Elena Cirello, Griffin Kowal, John Lockwood, Cole Miller, Olivia Rowehl and Scarlett Weir, under the direction of their coach, Lauren Lockwood. Together they decided to undertake an "Odyssey Angels" community service group project.

Called "Tee-rific Totes," the sturdy, fabric tote bags were made by team members from T-shirts donated from the school community. Food pantry patrons can use the sturdy, colorful sacks to carry their food home.

Odyssey Angels is a community service initiative in the extracurricular Odyssey of the Mind problem-solving competition. It challenges youths to use their creativity to help some aspect of their community that otherwise may be overlooked.

The team delivered its first batch of about 75 T-shirt tote bags to Good Shepherd on March 23, and will be making a similar delivery on March 30 to the Holy Trinity Food Pantry in Dingmans Ferry.

Another 100 T-shirts also have been received. The project will continue until all of those shirts are transformed and donated.

Meanwhile, the technical team first place in their problem category in the Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind Regional Competition held on March 17 at Pocono Mountain West High School in Mount Pocono, and now advances to the Pennsylvania state championships on April 7 at Pocono Mountain East High School in Swiftwater.

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