Students SCRAM, clients benefit

On Sept. 1, DESC loaded a van to the ceiling with bedding, sheets, comforters and pillows for our clients, courtesy of departing students, via the University of Washington’s Mini-SCRAM event.

Mini-SCRAM is the August version of SCRAM (Student Cleanup, Recycle and Moveout), which is held in June and organized by UW Recycling and UW Housing & Food Services. The university collects all the good usable items students don’t want, and donates the bounty to several local nonprofits.

During move-outs in June and August, students leave behind good, non-perishable food, bedding, emergency supplies, books, small appliances, electronics, clothing, school supplies, furniture and toiletries. The UW sets up donation stations at each residence hall, with instructional signage and containers. The events benefit nonprofits, and reduce illegal dumping and unsightliness on campus and in local neighborhoods. The UW appropriately recycles or discards any unusable items.

During SCRAM in June, DESC collected 877 emergency red backpacks (5,080 pounds worth) and 1,290 pounds of toiletries. High school and college student volunteers from HOPEworldwide helped unload it all.

“This year, the hygiene and household cleaning items are the ‘gold’,” Community Resource and Events Manager Don Rupp said.

Back at DESC, staff can load up on and quickly distribute the things their clients need. This July Don organized “The Great Grab,” a unique chance for DESC program staff to pick up unlimited amounts of:

  • household cleaners: surface cleaners, toilet bowl cleaning products, detergents, soaps, Swiffer sheets, toilet paper, paper towels
  • Red Emergency Backpacks (meant for disaster readiness, for residents or for outreach)
  • emergency water pouches
  • small notebooks
  • plus limited amounts of specific hygiene supplies and meal pouches.

Since DESC joined SCRAM in 2018, the university (and departing students!) have donated 23,280 pounds of emergency red backpacks and 6,104 pounds of toiletries to the organization.