300 bags of recyclables, a horse and a determined 14-year-old

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Hannah James, 14, of Temecula raises money to go to Youth Nationals Arabian Horse Show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, by collecting bags of recyclables. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Temecula resident Hannah James, 14, has collected over 300 bags of recycling from members around the community, in hopes of bringing her horse to Youth Nationals Arabian Horse Show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in July 2021.

“Youth Nationals is every year in Oklahoma City,” Heather James, Hannah’s mother, said. “She is just kind of getting to the level of riding that is required to be able to ride on a level like that, but it’s really expensive.”

The family discussed the idea of recycling to raise funds, since a girl a few years back had been able to make a good amount of money off it.

“We just kind of started reaching out to friends and family for putting bins on the property that we’re collecting here at the ranch,” Heather James said. She posted the announcement to a local group on Facebook and received tons of support from the community.

“It kind of got crazy,” Heather James said, laughing. “We’ve been picking stuff up a few times a week; we’ve been dropping stuff off a few times a week. People have been very nice and very helpful.”

There are several qualifying horse shows her daughter will need to go to so that she’ll officially qualify.

“She started riding just going to camps and stuff when she was 5, but she got really, really into riding when she was 8,” Heather James said. “She’s got some health issues that don’t let her do team sports, so we were trying to look for something that she could do. She started riding, and the last couple of years have actually been the healthiest years of her life.”

Hannah James rides at Green Acres Ranch Inc. in Temecula with KRE Show Horses.

“She’s really, really blossomed in her riding here, so we’re very, very happy with her progress,” Heather James said.

While they’ve collected 300 bags, Heather James said they still have more at home.

“She’s currently sitting right below $2,000,” Heather James said. “We’ll be over $2,000 by the end of the week once we get to return some stuff.”

She said that they’ve been receiving calls from people offering 10, 20 to 30 bags full of recyclables.

Now that she’s collected a lot, the family is helping other riders out with raising money through the recycling they’ve received.

A local elementary school also reached out to Heather James, asking if they could save the Coke lids as they go through the recyclables.

“They put them in the computer and Coke pays the school, their parent group, so we started saving those for them last week and we’ve already filled a gallon-sized water jug she’s going to be picking up from us,” her mother said. “So that’s kind of neat that we get to help out the school and be able to save them the lids.”

Hannah James said she finds time to work on the recycling project in between online schooling.

“We try to keep on top of it so that it’s not too crazy,” her mother said again. “It got crazy for a couple of days, but we try to stay on top of it and get it turned in as quickly as we can.”

Lexington Howe can be reached by email at lhowe@reedermedia.com.