Organizing a Back-to-School Supplies Drive
By Sylvia Cochran – Christian Parenting
Back-to-school shopping is just around the corner. Already the ads are showing gorgeous backpacks, stylish clothes and oodles of pens, pencils and crayons. While you might not have a hard time affording all these school supplies for your child, there are other parents who do not have the necessary funds to send off their kids to school with new items.
Organizing a back-to-school supplies drive is good opportunity to give back to the community and let your children get a taste of charity in action.
- Contact the local school district to see if there is already an event planned. Getting involved in an already well-publicized drive makes it easier to see big results. If there is nothing planned for your school district or neighborhood, find out if there is an interest by local school officials to help you set up an event.
- Get the school’s official “back to school” supplies lists. Teachers or administrators usually have them ready by the middle of the summer vacation — or earlier. You and your child may choose to support a particular grade level, such as the one your child will enter, or simply go for all grades and solicit help on a broad level.
- Find a location. If your child’s school will let you use their property, it will make it easy for donors to find the event. If you opt for an ongoing event, donation boxes should be spread around neighboring businesses. Make the boxes look attractive but nevertheless stand out.
- Draft a press release and send it to local papers. Publicize the back to school drive either as a fixed date event or an ongoing charity drive. Enlist the help of local businesses to get out the word. Be mindful to enlist the aid of dollar stores and office supply retailers. Do not be bashful about contacting your local representative as well. Bring your child along! Yes, you will get some brush-offs; but these will teach the child valuable lessons about persistence.
- Get the word out in person. You and your child can visit neighbors and explain about the back-to-school drive. Be sure to have copies of the required supplies on hand; folks who want to help out do not necessarily know what today’s students need in the classroom.
For your child to fully understand that charity is a way of life, not just a one-time event, make sure that you involve her fully in all of the aspects of this back-to-school supplies drive. Make it a fun project rather than a burden you have taken on. Children learn by doing, and while you want your youngster to look out for others, just telling her that it is a ‘good thing’ won’t wash.
As a Christian parent, focus on Acts 20:35: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
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