Back-to-school means a frenzy of collecting supplies and getting ready. Thrifty shoppers try to get the best deal possible on the items their children need for school. Sometimes that means buying a bulk package of needed materials and perhaps ending up with more than you need.
Don’t take up precious space with unneeded school supplies. Put them to use in a classroom where they are needed. Here are some easy ways to contribute to the education of a young person who can use those overflow items.
Many chains of stores collect supplies for schools in need. Visit your local Walmart or Staples store, for example, and drop off the surplus supplies. Some grocery stores accept donations. In California, Sleep Train stores collect school supplies for distribution. Some stores partner with a particular organization to facilitate distribution while others work through individual schools. If you haven’t seen any ads from local stores, call around to find the ones with a donation program.
Boys and Girls Clubs of America work with local schools in many locales to collect school supplies. Check with the Salvation Army and Red Cross-they take the lead in areas following disasters. Getting schools up and running helps to get a community back to normal. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts sometimes collect supplies as part of community service projects.
Don’t overlook local churches; many have outreach programs that include providing school supplies. Contact the church office to determine when contributions can be brought to the site.
The School Board
Check with the local school board office for information about which schools need supplies. You may be able to drop them off to the school and see the campus that will benefit from your generosity.
Local Newspapers, Television or Radio Stations
School supply collection makes a great public relations story, so television and radio stations will sometimes sponsor collection points. The stations usually set a particular period of time to really push the activity because the big stack of boxes of school supplies makes great copy.
Take advantage of technology to target people who need your excess supplies specifically. Sites like eGiva and Freecycle provide a place where those who have something to share can connect with someone with a need.
Don’t have any particular overstocked supplies, but still want to help someone in need? Those sites will allow you to find a need and fill it.
Don’t have time to shop? Consider sites like iLoveSchool and DonorsChoose. You’ll be able to pick a program or school of particular interest and help it succeed.
The Bottom Line
An investment in children today through your donation of supplies or funds can make a huge difference in a child’s future, maybe even more than one. As important as the supplies you give is the knowledge for the children that someone cared enough to help.
DoSomething: Partnership with Staples http://www.dosomething.org/dosomething101/home
KFSM: Shoppers Donate Thousands of School Supplies for Local Students http://www.kfsm.com/news/northwestarkansas/kfsm-news-nwa-stuff-the-buss,0,1696429.story
eGiva!: Give to Live http://egiva.com/
Freecycle: http://www.freecycle.net/Jamie Littlefield: Donate School Supplies to a Classroom in Need: http://charityguide.org/volunteer/fewhours/school-supplies.htm
iLoveSchools: The Online Giving Center for Teachers and Schools http://www.iloveschools.com/
DonorChoose: An Online Charity Connecting You to Classrooms in Need http://www.donorschoose.org/