Every day, theatrical drape manufacturer Sew What? Inc. in Rancho Dominguez, CA goes through hundreds of square yards of silk, muslin, canvas, and polyester. And at the end of the day, hoppers full of scrap fabric material are headed...to school!

It’s a give-back-to-the-community program initiated by Sew What? president Megan Duckett and friend Leo Grizzaffi to supply local occupational centers with scrap material for their upholstery and fashion classes.

“I’ve always been a believer in supporting the community in which we live and work,” says Duckett. “These occupational centers do so much good in helping students learn valuable trade skills, and yet they’re terribly under-funded. I’d rather these scraps do something useful and valuable than to simply go to waste.”

The idea came from a request by Mr. Grizzaffi, a local attorney and philanthropist, to provide some scrap material to one of the occupational centers he supports. This led to the establishment of an ongoing program. Currently, a total of 20 bushels of scrap and remnant fabric are distributed weekly to five neighborhood centers: Hamilton High School, San Pedro Center, Carson High School, SCROC (Southern California Regional Occupational Center), and Harbor Occupational Center.

Duckett says that this effort exemplifies her company’s values of putting family and community first. “It’s one thing to recycle,” she adds, “but it’s better when there’s a clear and direct human benefit.”