As you explore your child’s school–be it the first day of a new year, or your student’s premiere in a new town–you’ll see kids toting all the gear they’ve been assigned to acquire for use in the classroom.
Colored pencils, crayons, compasses, protractors, scissors…the list goes on and on. And for the parents who are heading to the store to purchase them, the price goes on and on as well.
The cost of school supplies continues to grow, partly because new items like hand sanitizer have appeared in recent years, but also because budget cuts are forcing schools to reduce what they provide in the classroom. Many teachers now mandate that each student bring facial tissues, a roll of paper towels, or any of a number of items once stocked in the room before the year’s first bell.
While you may make a face when ringing up your student’s needs, other parents face a real struggle to pay for them. As a result, many community and civic groups, as well as school organizations like PTO’s and PTA’s, are holding school supply drives to help provide at least some of the basics for needy kids.
Getting involved in one of these is a great opportunity for you. Conducting such a drive is great for your business, your school, and your child. Here’s how:
It’s Just a Good Thing To Do
Thanks to social media and teacher communication with students, many parents face down the final weeks of summer vacation with real concerns about how to pay for the items they’ll have to purchase. Those same venues of communication can inform parents how to sign up for assistance, or better yet, inform everyone that their basics will be provided free of charge.
Imagine being an out-of-work single parent with rent overdue and utilities on the brink, the school year breathing down your neck, and receiving word that the supplies are covered. Bringing that relief to people who need it will warm your heart, guaranteed.
A Chance to Show Your Name
There’s nothing wrong with you if you aren’t being completely altruistic in helping with such an event. Your school’s scoreboards likely bear the names of local businesses who helped pay for them. The milk cartons in the cafeteria bear the vendor’s logo. And if your school has a nice sign out front, it’s probably bearing the name of sponsors as well.
A school supply drive might be an opportunity for your own business to get involved, either to chip in on the items themselves or even to order custom backpacks. You could equip an entire grade level with new backpacks for under $2 a kid. Add your business logo and some contact information, and be prepared for some great face time and name recognition results.
Opening Your Children’s Eyes
When you can calmly swipe your debit card at the store with no worries that it will be approved, you are far ahead of many families in the US. Your son or daughter standing at your hip during the transaction may not realize just how white-knuckle that moment is for many struggling families.
As you work on a supply drive, be sure to involve your own children and explain to them why some families need such a boost, and you’ll provide a lesson that teaches empathy and understanding, traits that will serve your child well in life.