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WV non-profit turns campaign signs into solar lights

Inter-Mountain photo Volunteers construct solar-powered lights to provide a quality lighting source for families in developing countries.
Inter-Mountain photo
Volunteers construct solar-powered lights to provide a quality lighting source for families in developing countries.

PHILIPPI, W.Va. — Now that the election is finally over, a local organization is inviting politicians to recycle any unwanted political signs for its “Signs of Hope” campaign.

New Vision Renewable Energy, a 501-C-3 non-profit organization in Philippi, will be putting the signs to use as the base of their solar-powered lights that are sent to families and schools in developing countries around the world.

The recycled boards are cut into smaller pieces and covered with 3M mirror film. Bright LED light strips are added before being placed in a plastic water-proof encasement made by the 3M Corporation, New Vision’s partner. Battery packs that can be plugged into the lights and into slim solar panels are attached.

So far, with help from politicians around the area, New Vision has collected 2,800 political signs to provide 3,500 clean lighting sources to families in 33 countries.

“New Vision has found a way to bring Republicans and Democrats together for a common good,”said Ruston Seaman, president/CEO of New Vision. “Please help out. Don’t bury the signs in the earth. Let them help another.”

Nearly 1.2 billion people go to bed each night without electricity; many of them light their homes with small, kerosene lanterns that emit hazardous fumes which are inhaled, often resulting in death. Therefore, about 4,000 people die each day from respiratory diseases caused by the fumes. Almost half of the fatalities are children under 5-years-old. Many families live on less than $2 per day, making electricity unaffordable despite possible availability.

Even in the daytime, 290 million children worldwide attend school without quality lighting which affects their vision over the course of time.

According to Seaman, 250,000 signs are produced nationally for each general election campaign. The signs are efficient for the lights because they are lightweight and durable. By contributing to this environmentally-friendly campaign, signs can be kept out of landfills and lives can be saved.

“After such a trying national election cycle, it will be good to put the political signs to good use making lights for around the world,” Seaman added.

New Vision works with local youth and others across the country, as well as community volunteers to construct the lights for distribution in developing countries. All lights are sponsored by individuals, businesses, schools and caring organizations

To recycle signs, drop them off at New Vision’s home office at the corner of Chestnut Ridge Road and Frost Run Road in Philippi or contact Seaman at 304-457-2971 or [email protected] to make further shipping or pick-up arrangements. For more information about New Vision Renewable Energy, visit nvre.org.

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