Girls from the Butterfly Effect Project spoke during a town board hearing last month on the distribution of Community Development Block Grant funds. File photo: Denise Civiletti

The Butterfly Effect Project will receive a $10,000 grant from the Town of Riverhead to help fund a clothing and sports equipment recycling program.

The grant will be funded by a portion of the town’s share of recycling program revenues collected under its municipal solid waste district contract with a collection company.

The Butterfly Effect Project, founded in 2014 by Riverhead native Tijuana Fulford to assist and empower young girls, has been collecting unwanted clothing and sports equipment, cleaning and refurbishing the items collected, and distributing them to local families in need.

“We’re currently removing 500 pounds of clothing from our waste stream and hope to increase this to 2,000 pounds over the next year,” Fulford told Riverhead Town Board members yesterday. “Mountains” of discarded clothing, shoes, belts and handbags end up in landfills every year, she said.

Clothing that doesn’t get distributed locally is taken to Savers, where the group is paid 20 cents per pound for the items, Fulford said. The money collected goes to the group’s fund to buy supplies needed to keep the recycling program going.

Fulford said the program is a great experience for the girls, who learn about the importance of recycling and of giving back to the community.

The grant will help fund one-time start-up expenses like clothing racks and ironing boards, as well as ongoing expenses sich as cleaning supplies, laundromat fees, gas and labor, according to a proposal submitted to town officials.

The Butterfly Effect Project now serves more than 100 girls. Last month the group moved into office space donated by Jill Schroeder at JABS Fitness, which recently opened a new, second location at 1149 Old Country Road in Riverhead.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.