Imagine if we could turn items that would normally be thrown in the trash into warm, waterproof blankets — a young girl from Wales is doing just that!
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Twelve-year-old Alyssa Faith Fallorina Dean of Prestatyn has spent the past year collecting discarded chip bags which she then transforms into foil warming blankets. She donates them, along with toiletries and other essentials, to organizations that support people who are unhoused throughout Wales and as far as Ukraine.
So far, she’s turned over 10,000 chips bags into 200+ blankets!
Alyssa got the idea to make these innovative blankets from a Facebook story about Pen Huston of East Sussex, England. Pen started a Crisp Packet Project to make survival bags with foil blankets and gives them to those in need throughout the United Kingdom.
“When you put the blanket around your body, the heat reflects back off the silver part of the crisp packet,” Alyssa told the BBC. “You wouldn’t think you could turn a crisp packet into something so helpful, but homeless people like the blankets because they’re really lightweight and waterproof.”
As a budding environmentalist, Alyssa thinks there’s an added bonus to using chip bags.
“Crisp packets are really hard to recycle, so this is a new way to stop them going in the bin,” she said.
Alyssa’s mom helped her collect her initial chip bag bounty, but now that her story’s out, she’s getting donations from far and wide.
For each bag, she starts by opening the packet and washing it (her least favorite part), then she places four packets on a piece of parchment paper and irons them so they fuse together. The last step is placing the packets between strips of clear plastic and ironing them to seal it all together.
The result is a foil blanket similar to the ones used in emergencies or draped over runners after they finish a race. It takes Alyssa about an hour and a half to make each blanket, and her mom says the project keeps her out of trouble!
“She makes the blankets after school — it certainly keeps her away from her phone,” said Alyssa’s mom, Darlene Dean. “She’s passionate about the environment, and the homeless support organisations in north Wales have been very positive about the blankets.”
In addition to her environmental and social philanthropy, Alyssa is involved with scholarship and beauty pageants. As a Filipino-British person, she was recently crowned Miss Royal UK Pre-Teen for 2022/2023. She and her family visited the Embassy in August, and she will attend the Royal International Pageants in Florida in July 2023.
This young lady is really going places! We love that she’s channeling her skills towards helping others in such a huge, meaningful way. Keep up the great work, Alyssa!
Watch the video below to see how Alyssa makes her blankets, and don’t forget to share.
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