NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Uber New Orleans and Arc's Mardi Gras Bead Recycle Center will join forces on Saturday, Feb. 13 in a program that gives the public the chance to donate discarded Mardi Gras beads and trinkets.
The donation will be as easy as hitting an app on your cell phone, and organizers say every step of the process is free.
Arc of Greater New Orleans is now in its 61st year of serving children and adults with intellectual disabilities and delays. The Recycle Center is one of six social enterprises Arc manages, which allows the non-profit to hire those with disabilities and pay minimum wage or higher. The Center depends on donations throughout the year to be successful, and Uber is helping kick off the 2016 donation cycle by connecting donors via the company's app and having Uber drivers pick up the donations.
Here's how it will work:
On the Saturday after Mardi Gras, those living in the Greater New Orleans area, including Metairie, wanting to donate beads and trinkets need to bag their donations for pick-up.
Using a smartphone, riders need to open their Uber app between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 13 and hit the RECYCLE button at the bottom of the screen. Please keep in mind, drivers can't leave vehicles unattended—so you will need to bring your beads out to meet your driver when they arrive. The demand will likely be high, so patience is requested in advance.
Uber will then deliver your donations to Arc.
"We are excited to partner with Arc and happy to help this great cause," notes Tom Maguire, Uber General Manager. As Maguire adds, "We know people are going to have a lot of beads, with Mardi Gras just ending. It's the perfect time to help people across New Orleans donate - before they put beads and throws into attics or storage areas. Making this as simple as possible, we hope many residents click to donate."
Arc's Recycle Center sorted and repackaged some 125,000 pounds of beads for the 2016 Mardi Gras season, down from the 175,000 pounds Arc collected and sorted in 2014. According to Margie Perez, Arc's Recycling Coordinator, "For whatever reason, we saw a substantial drop in bead donations last year, so this drive is much needed and very much appreciated. We are hoping this will kick off a better year in donations because we need as many beads and throws we can get to support those we serve through our social enterprise."
If you are not Uber user, you can still participate in this bead drive. According to Maguire, you will need to download the Uber app and submit information, including payment information. However, as Maguire further explains, "There is no charge for the bead pickup; it's completely free. You just need open the app to request and there will be no charge to a user's credit card or payment method."