More than 100 elementary students in Westborough and Worcester have pencil cases, most of them filled with school supplies, thanks to Megan Donaty.
Donaty made the pencil cases from Capri Sun pouches, filled them with school supplies she bought, and then donated them to the schools last year.
The project earned Donaty, a member of Westborough Girl Scout Troop 30859, her Silver Award, which was approved on Oct. 2, 2013. She finished the project in August 2012.
"I came about the idea because I'm always drinking Capri Sun pouches for lunch at school, and I just throw them away. So, I came to the idea of actually making something out of them instead of throwing them away," Donaty said Sunday.
The eighth-grader at Venerini Academy in Worcester said she initially wanted to help students in the city.
"It's not really in the best neighborhood, and I noticed that the kids don't really have a lot," Donaty said.
"So, I thought maybe I could make pencil cases out of Capri Sun pouches, and fill them with school supplies and give them to schools in need."
Donaty said a YouTube video taught her to make the pencil cases.
"You can make numerous things with Capri Sun pouches, like lunch boxes and bags," she said.
Gibbons Middle School teacher Megan Gerstenzang provided most of the pouches for Donaty's project.
However, Donaty said Worcester's school superintendent never responded to her inquiry. So, she approached Westborough's elementary principals.
"She teaches eighth-grade math, and she actually collects the Capri Sun pouches. She sends them to a place where she can get money for the school. So, I asked her if I could have some of them. She gave me two whole garbage bags of Capri Sun pouches. All I had to do was clean them," Donaty said.
Donaty said the Worcester school superintendent never replied to her inquiry, so she approached Westborough's elementary principals about taking the pouches and school supplies.
The schools received these amounts: Hastings Elementary School, 25 filled cases and five unfilled ones; Armstrong Elementary School, 15 filled cases and five unfilled ones; Fales Elementary School, five filled cases and five unfilled ones; Kristin Kilpatrick's fifth-grade class at the Mill Pond School, five filled cases and five unfilled ones; and a first-grade class at Worcester's Burncoat Street Preparatory School, 10 filled cases and five unfilled ones.
"I didn't know that Westborough would need a lot of them. I just thought they would take them out of respect," Donaty said.
"But the schools actually needed them. That made me realize how many people in my own town actually can't afford to buy school supplies for themselves."