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Unique partnership supplies aid

School supplies — from scissors and crayons to kid-size chalkboards — are reaching the hands of children in need thanks to a unique partnership between Delta Airlines and the humanitarian service arm of the Church.

Dean Walker of the Church's Humanitarian Service Center explains to Delta Airline executives how old airplane seat covers are made into school bags by volunteers.
Dean Walker of the Church's Humanitarian Service Center explains to Delta Airline executives how old airplane seat covers are made into school bags by volunteers. Photo: Photo by Michael Brandy

Once destined for the landfill, old seat covers from Delta's planes are being transformed by Church volunteers into bags stuffed with basic school supplies for needy children around the world.

Mel Carter, an analyst at Delta Airlines headquarters in Atlanta, hated to see thousands of yards of useful fabric go to waste. "My thought was, 'Why couldn't we make use of the seat covers for something else, rather than just throwing them away?' " he said.

He sent a sample of the fabric to the Church's Humanitarian Service Center in Salt Lake City.

"When we saw the thick, sturdy fabric, the thought came, 'Maybe we could use them for a bag for our international school kits,"' said Dean Walker, unit manager at the center.

Soon Delta began sending large shipments of seat covers to the humanitarian center. At the center, volunteers cut the seat covers to a pattern, then sew and stuff the finished bags with school supplies. The Church boxes up the filled bags and ships them to children in need around the world.

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