NEJC Eagle Scout troop collects 200+ pounds of crayons for Children’s Mercy

As part of an Eagle Scout project, Parker Jennings and other scouts melted down part of the 200 pounds of crayons he recently gathered. Jennings did the project to help out Children’s Mercy Hospital, where he was treated as a child. The scouts melted the crayons in the West Plaza neighborhood on Saturday. Photos by Julie Tenenbaum.

When he thought about an Eagle Scout project, Westwood resident Parker Jennings, 14, immediately thought of doing something to help out Children’s Mercy Hospital.

“Children’s Mercy helped me out when I was two years old,” he says. “I had a hole in my heart and they helped patch me up.”

Parker Jennings (left) and other scouts sorted crayons Saturday before melting them.

So Jennings contacted the hospital to see what kind of help he could give and learned the hospital’s greatest need was – crayons.

Aspiring Eagle Scouts are required to do a project that both helps the community and shows leadership. Jennings began in September. He and other scouts from Old Mission United Methodist Church-based Troop 192 went door-to-door asking for old crayons and handing out flyers. They also put community drop off boxes around Kansas City and nearby Kansas suburbs. They asked people to donate crayons and to make financial contributions if possible.

Last Saturday, Jennings and other scouts had a big meltdown. They heated up as many of the crayons as they could – using their Boy Scout outdoor cooking skills. They then shaped the used crayons into various designs.

Jennings and others will distribute the shapes to kids at Children’s Mercy on Thursday morning. He’ll also continue to collect crayons at his drop off sites until Thursday, when his project official ends.

“I learned that leading people is hard,” Jennings says of the project. It’s hard keeping them on track and making sure they follow directions. And it is good to benefit others.”

(H/T to our sister site MidtownKCPost.com for this story)