NEW YORK, N.Y. (PIX11) — At the end of every college year, thousands of items from dorm rooms are left behind by students, but two mothers from Scarsdale — who saw many of these items end up in the trash — decided to do something about it.
Thanks to the work of Liz Gruber and Tara Smith Tyberg, underserved incoming college freshmen heading to their campuses this fall are taking the same items to their own dorm rooms for no cost. Sumbal Kahn took home a big bag full of items from the midtown distribution center and will be attending University at Albany.
“I’m really surprised and glad that I came because there’s a lot of stuff for everything that you need – literally everything,” Kahn said.
Gruber and Tyberg started nonprofit organization Grad Bag after moving their own kids out of college 10 years ago and seeing dorm products in great condition in the dumpster.
“We thought it would make sense to reuse this,” Gruber said.
They now go to college campuses throughout the northeast with volunteers, load up a truck, and bring back all the products left behind by students. The items are then cleaned and sorted. After that, they’re up for grabs for students heading to college – many of whom are the first in their family.
“Grad Bag’s mission is two-fold,” Gruber added. “It’s to promote sustainability and to serve these underserved students to help support them.”
The items up for grabs range from bedding essentials — like comforters, egg crates, sheets, and mattress covers — to storage containers, lamps, and mirrors.
Tyberg pointed out some of the fun accessories.
“These are decorative pillows so that your dorm looks like you, a little individual,” Tyberg said.
They hope this gives the students confidence as they head to a new school.
Alan Perez is going to Johns Hopkins University next semester and is thankful for how much it’s saved his family.
“We’re now going through extremely tough times financially with me and my family and the fact that this came through and this happened and this is all for free, it helped me so, so much,” Perez said. “I kind of want to cry. We saved, I’m pretty sure, thousands of dollars from this and I’m so grateful for it.”
The co-founders hope that their efforts spread nationwide with colleges across the country participating.