Whether it's been your main mission to manage your own kid's feverish back-to-school shopping, or you're just well aware of the back-to-school frenzy thanks to mass advertising, there are still millions of kids around the world don't have access to adequate school supplies. But, unlike some of the problems our world's currently facing, you can do something about it right now.
Learn all about where you can send school supply donations, who to reach out to in your local community for guidance, and how to start your own drive.
5 Places to Send School Supply Donations To
Every late-July and early-August back-to-school shopping takes over, and even if you're not on hour three of looking at different notebook covers to pick the 'right' one, you're well aware of the crowds of people checking items off their lists.
Yet far too many families can't afford the high price of school supplies, and teachers can only fund so much out of their own pockets. In a system that isn't built to support these children, it's up to charitable donations to help them thrive in the classroom.
Larger organizations that have a national or regional reach don't usually accept physical donations. So, if money is the name of your game, these are some great organizations to try out:
AdoptAClassroom works much like angel trees do, but on a bigger scale. Their website hosts teachers and classroom fundraisers across the nation that need school supplies. Simply click on one of the teachers or classrooms listed and donate a monetary gift through their AdoptAClassroom page. And you can also share the fundraisers to Facebook, Twitter, or by email to get the word out.
Operation Backpack is a Volunteers of America program that gifts needful students with backpacks full of school supplies necessary to thrive in their educational environments. Like many other groups, you can make a donation on their website of at least $25 to go directly to supplies like notebooks, pencils, and backpacks.
DonorsChoose is a very similar non-profit to AdoptAClassroom. They also connect American teachers with people who can help fund their classrooms. Through their website, you can browse the various listings to see which classes still need donations and which ones have met their goals. When one strikes your fancy, click on the listing and digitally donate money to support that classroom.
Kids in Need Foundation
According to their website, the Kids in Need Foundation "is committed to creating equity in the classroom, with a focus on the nation's most under-resourced schools, by providing the supplies for teachers to teach and learners to learn." To gather and distribute the supplies, they rely on monetary donations.
To donate at least $25 (it's the minimum), head over to their website. Or you can ship up to a 50-lb box to the headquarters for free by following the instructions on their website.
UNICEF is an international organization that has so many concurrent programs and missions that it's impossible to keep track of all the good they do. But, one way you can support kids around the world is by donating to one of their many education funds. Check out the UNICEF education marketplace for different options.
How to Find Local Places to Donate School Supplies To
For some people, helping your local community is a number one priority. If you take a short drive down a new street, you'll discover so many businesses you never realized were a stone's throw away from home -- and the same goes for charitable organizations.
If you want to donate school supplies to a local group, here are some places to reach out to:
- Contact the school district. Your county school district should have information pertaining to any county-wide or school-specific supply drives that are scheduled.
- If you have kids, ask your child's teacher what donations they need. This can be a huge relief to both the kids in need and the teachers, who often provide the supplies from their own paychecks.
- Ask your faith-based groups if they have a supply drive scheduled. Faith-based groups like Christian churches perform outreach to the community several times a year, and some in your area might be hosting a supply drive.
- Check with your local grocery stores for information about upcoming drives. Grocery stores frequently host backpack and supply drives in the summer.
- Stop by your local library and ask if they know of any places to donate. The library is a vital community resource. They do so much more than just check out books, and there's a good chance they'll know of a place or two to donate. Who knows, it might even be them!
Can't Find One? Start Your Own Supply Drive
Depending on where you live, there might not be any school supply drives for you to donate to. Instead of sending the donations to the back of your closet never to be seen again, consider hosting your own! And if it's you're first time organizing something like this, don't fret. It's easier than you think.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Set the dates for the drive in stone and write down supplies you're accepting. The more specific you are, the more likely someone is to buy something off the list.
- Contact local schools or tutoring groups before collecting donations. It's best to check in to see what they need and when/if they want to schedule a drop-off.
- Reach out to local businesses and see if they'd be willing to host boxes for your donation drive. The more spots you have, the more people will see the donations boxes and potentially drop some things off.
- Use social media to get the word out. Whether it's a TikTok or Instagram post, you should use the free audience at your disposal to get exposure.
- Organize the drop off schedule ahead of time. Chat with friends or family at least a week before drop-off to make sure you've got transport down pat.
Your Donation Can Make a Difference
Currently, there are millions of impoverished, low-income children whose parents and school districts struggle every year to get them the school supplies they need to academically thrive. But, your money, time, and physical donations make a difference. Every child deserves the chance to have a great educational experience, and you can help make that happen.