Gymnasts go green to raise some green

September 3, 2008

By Tim Pfarr

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Liberty High School gymnasts (from left) Miranda Jones, Hannah Bergam, Cammie Fuentes and Michelle Vanderheyden pose with the two styles of canvas bags for sale through their team’s fundraiser. Photo contributed Liberty High School gymnasts (from left) Miranda Jones, Hannah Bergam, Cammie Fuentes and Michelle Vanderheyden pose with the two styles of canvas bags for sale through their team’s fundraiser. Photo contributed

 

Liberty High School’s gymnastics team is in a bind.

 It needs carpets, mats, wedges and a vault runway, but there aren’t enough resources to purchase the equipment. So, like many high school sports teams, its members started a fundraiser.

But it’s not a conventional one: Members are selling cotton canvas grocery bags featuring the school’s gymnastics logos.

“We wanted to offer something new that another team isn’t already doing,” said Linda Bergam, of Newcastle, who’s in charge of the fundraiser. Her daughter Hannah is a freshman at the school and on the team.

“I have always been involved in school sports and sports fundraising,” she said. “I was eager to get involved with fundraising for the gymnastics team, even with Hannah being one of the new kids in Liberty gymnastics.”

She said the idea to make the bags came from a friend, and once the school gave approval, a supplier was found on the Internet.

“I think it’s really smart to have something environmentally friendly that shows off Liberty pride,” Hannah said.

The Wall Street Journal estimates that the United States goes through 100 billion plastic bags per year, and the Environmental Protection Agency said plastic bags can take 1,000 years to decompose. Also, plastic bags have been known to contaminate waterways and entangle animals.

Beginning in January, the city of Seattle will impose a 20-cent tax on each paper and plastic bag used at grocery, drug and convenience stores. Also, Western Washington organic food co-ops PCC Natural Markets, including the one in Issaquah, have stopped using plastic bags in their stores.

Linda said the fundraiser is already going very well on many levels.

“There’s quite a buzz,” she said. “Everyone loves the choices of logos and the fact that we are offering a responsible substitute for the plastic bags that harm our environment.”

Gymnastics team coach Lori Copenhaver also said she thinks the fundraiser is a great idea.

“We have had a lot of positive feedback on them,” she said. “With the focus on plastic and paper bags, I expect it to be a great fundraiser for us.”

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