A study conducted by the National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA) found that teachers spent an average of $398 on school supplies for students in the 2009-2010 school year. This does not include the funding spent by parents, which was an average of $19 per student on classroom supplies.
In low-income districts, school supplies are a luxury that many classrooms go without. Your organization can make a difference by having a school supply drive to help those in the community who cannot afford them.
Begin by organizing a drive to collect backpacks and school supplies. Ask parishioners to put up a collection drop-off at their local business or to ask their colleagues to help out. Next, organize a social event where you can fill the backpacks with a variety of age appropriate supplies.
Finding places that can benefit from your drive is as simple as having a request form or going directly to the source that needs them, namely your local school.
Organizing a school supply drive is a great way to introduce yourself to the community and allow parents to see you as a source of help in troubled times. Engaging youth will build a bridge that allows you an outlet to connect families to other programs that your ministry offers as school supply programs tend to be viewed with less suspicion than many community outreaches.
Here are some helpful links that can help you start your first school supply drive:
DonorsChoose.com – Fund class projects for needy kids; search by subject, grade, & price.
KidsinNeed.com – Distributes school supplies to children in need and provides grants to help teachers with needed supplies.