Sometimes, inspiration will strike in the most unlikely of places.
For Waverly resident Michaela Moore, inspiration struck one day in 2008 while running clothing drives for the Abington Youth Theater Company and the Waverly Community House's Camp Create.
"As it became apparent that these clothing drives made money for non-profits, I decided to offer it up to other non-profits and the business has grown from there," Moore said.
Since then, Moore's business, Fibers of the Earth, has helped many non-profit organizations across northeast Pennsylvania, including Camp Create, the Indraloka Animal Sanctuary and various local churches and civic groups. The business helps the non-profit organizations put together clothing drives or create drop box programs. It also places drop boxes dedicated to specific non-profit organizations throughout the area.
Moore, whose professional background is theater, explained that for every pound of clothing donated to a Fibers of the Earth clothing drop box, a certain percentage will go toward helping the non-profit organization listed on the front with programming and other initiatives.
Indra Lahiri, the founder of the Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, located in Mehoopany, explained how the drop boxes have helped her in her mission to give animals a safe haven.
"The Fibers of the Earth drop box program not only provides us with much-needed funds to help us care for the animals, but it has also helped us to spread the word about our organization," she said. "People see the boxes all over town, look us up on the internet, email about visiting or volunteering and, before we know it, the animals make some wonderful new friends."
"We have even had school groups and office groups get together to organize clothing drives on our behalf and then they come together to visit the animals and see first hand how their donations are saving lives," she added.
Moore stated that the average American household throws away roughly 70 pounds of clothing per year and that clothing drop boxes, regardless of the company that runs them, help keep the clothes out of landfills. She added that if a clothing drop box was placed specifically to help a charity, that information will be prominently displayed.
"People assume that if they put their clothing in a box that it will go to that charity itself; the misconception is that you're automatically supporting charity," she said. "You have to look at what the box says. If they have a charity listed, it is required by law that they have to give money or have some sort of agreement with that charity. You should call the charity to find out more information."
"If people just want to put their clothing and shoes in whatever box is closest to them and keep it out of the landfills, that's fine," Moore continued. "That's a noble thing to do. I'd much rather them do that than throw it in the garbage. If you want to support a charity, you need to make sure that some sort of charity is printed on the box."
Moore believes that the best part of running Fibers of the Earth is that it allows her to give back to her native area.
"It is so great that, having grown up in this community is helping me to run this company and to help charities," she said. "I have all of these opportunities to help support people and other companies and charities in this area."
For more information on Fibers of the Earth, including drop box locations, visit www.fibersoftheearth.com or email fibersoftheearth@ gmail.com.