‘Buddies’ help bring Buddy Benches to Churubusco

CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco is receiving five new benches and a picnic table, thanks to recycling bottle caps and the help of the community and surrounding areas.

Initiated by Churubusco Elementary School Principal Matthew Whonsetler in April, the Buddy Benches provide a neutral space for kids to sit if they’re looking for a friend or consolation. Whonsetler was inspired to seek out the benches from his time at DeKalb, which has Buddy Benches installed. Partnered with the PTO, Whonsetler approached Madalyn Sade-Bartl, Churubusco’s clerk-treasurer to inquire about obtaining some the benches.

Green Tree Plastics, located in Evansville, provides discounted Buddy Benches through bottle cap recycling. A certain percentage is taken off the bill, depending on how many bottle caps are collected. Upon attending a conference in May with 450 clerks from around Indiana, Sade-Bartl met Winona’s clerk who had used Greenscapes to acquire benches. She told Sade-Bartl their community had 75 pounds of left over bottlecaps she would like to donate to Churubusco for Buddy Benches.

The 75 pounds of bottle caps was actually 750 pounds of bottle caps, providing funding for five benches and a picnic table for Churubusco.

Each Buddy Bench is hosted by a different organization. The town will have one bench and the picnic table, the school’s PTO will have two benches and the Chamber and Rotary Club will have one each. One bench will be next to the splash pad, one or two will be placed in the upcoming Oscar’s Playland and the rest will be installed around Churubusco.

Both bottle caps and medicine caps are qualified for recycling. For practice in recognizing different materials, sizes and shapes, Churubusco’s special needs class helped sort all of the caps into categories. In addition to being a positive impact on the community, bottlecap recycling is also good for the environment.

Though the benches are already paid for, the town is still always collecting bottle caps.

“We want to keep giving bottle caps to other communities who need them and pay it forward, just like Winona did for us,” said Sade-Bartl. “Whonsetler is a new person to the community and he has already created a project that brought the town together; he’s investing in the town.”

The Buddy Benches for Churubusco will be picked up Aug. 22 and prepared for installation.

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