Parent with a Purpose: Sarah B.

A South Shore mom making a difference one bag of litter at a time

By Laurie Corbett, Publisher, Macaroni Kid South Shore Boston February 6, 2020

It has been a long time since we have shared a Parent with a Purpose but I am so excited to have you all meet our first of 2020. One of my favorite parts of being a Macaroni Kid publisher is sharing the stories of local parents who are doing incredible things in our community. They are truly Parents with a Purpose and here's a little more about Sarah and how she's changing the South Shore community and the world for the better in her own words.

How do you make a difference? What do you want to accomplish?

We’re hoping to open people’s eyes to the litter that is around us and how we need to not only take better care of our local environment but be more careful about what we buy (that then turns into waste).

Our goal is to collect 2020 bags of litter in 2020. To do this we need help and people have started collecting bags all over the world to join in.

What inspired/encouraged you to start @Just1Bag2020?

We’ve always been a family that picks up the odd bit of litter as we explore nature but we were out on Sandy Beach in Cohasset on New Year’s Eve and we were filling a bag that we’d remembered to bring. It didn’t take long to fill it and my husband suggested that it could be a cool family project to try to get 2020 bags in 2020. We also thought it would be cool for our kids to get involved and help them see how they can inspire others through their own actions.

How did your life before children influence the parent you are today? What part do your children play in your desire to make a difference?

My husband and I both sold books door to door while we were at college. It was hard work and never quitting and goal setting were drummed into us. We’ve tried to instill these values in our kids and as they’ve got older (they’re now 7 and 5) we’ve been able to do it even more. We both traveled a huge amount before we had children too and the thought that they may not be able to see the Great Barrier Reef or glaciers breaks my heart. Our planet is so amazing and I want them to experience as much of it as possible. In 10-15 years when they’re off on their own exploring, I’m not sure how much of it will be left.

What lessons/values are you learning through this process? What lessons/values do you hope your kids are learning?

The power of just doing something positive that benefits someone other than you.  For the first two weeks, it was basically just me walking the beach and roads of Cohasset picking up litter and getting funny looks. At the weekend my husband and kids joined me and that was it. 2020 bags seemed such a long way off! But then because people had seen and heard about us doing it so often (and the sun came out) other families joined in at the weekend and posted their pictures tagging our Instagram account. Their kids enjoyed it as it gave them a focus on a walk and discovered weird and wonderful things that people threw away.

Now we’ve got bags being collected in the UK, Spain, Sweden, and the US. From Cape Cod to Virginia Beach and it’s amazing! People are really getting behind it and we’re so grateful!

Our kids are learning the impact of their actions, as well as that you never ever drop litter. They see what people leave in our woods and what gets washed up on the beaches. We’re hoping that they will become more conscious consumers as they grow up as they’ve seen what happens to the things we throw in our trash bins. They’re learning how to do something that doesn’t directly benefit them and as it continues, I hope they’ll become more confident speaking to their friends about it and learn that little acts of kindness add up to a huge difference.

What can we as local parents and families do to support the @Just1Bag2020 project?

If you’d like to join in simply take a bag when you go out and collect any litter you see. Collect whatever you’re happy to pick up (we’d recommend wearing gloves or making sure you wash your hands thoroughly afterward!). Some people have done it on the school run, some on their daily walk to get their 10k steps in. Some people do it every day, some once a week. Whatever works for you.

Once you’ve collected it take a photo. If you’re on Instagram, post it on your page with @just1bag2020 or #just1bag2020 We’ll see it and include it in our count. Tell your friends wherever they are in the world and talk to your kids about why this matters.

Macaroni Kid South Shore Boston is a free weekly newsletter and website focused on fun family events and information in 13 towns on Boston's South Shore. We gather together all kinds of local family events and activities each week and add useful information about classes, family-focused businesses, book and product reviews, recipes, crafts, school and camp guides and more. We proudly serve families in Hanover, Norwell, Hingham, Cohasset, Scituate, Hull, Marshfield, Duxbury, Pembroke, Whitman, Hanson, Rockland, and Abington!

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