How to Donate School Supplies to a Local Child in need or Donating School Supplies to Local Kids

Add a little something to your cart – and donate your extra school supplies to help a local child in need.

The sale bins at Wal-mart are brimming over with bargains for back to school supplies.  We even just had tax-free shopping weekends in over a dozen states to spur school shopping and boost the economy at summer’s end. The “roll-back deals” are on every aisle and corner.  If you shop at Office Max, Office Depot, Costco, or Sam’s Club and buy school supplies in bulk, you will likely purchase more than your child’s particular needs. 

So, why not throw a few extra items or multi-packs in your cart and donate them to a child or family in need to ease the financial burden of returning to school?

Where can you donate?

Where do you go to make the actual donations? The options are many, as there is more need than supply of donors in tough economic times like those we now face.  Here are some suggestions, though, to help you get started and encourage you to do a good deed on your next shopping trip.  Even better still, take the kids and involve them in the shopping trip and giving to another in need to teach them a valuable and important life lesson. 

Suggested Donation Locations:

1.  Your Child’s or a Local School:  Donate to your child’s actual school and the administration or front office can direct the supplies to a family in need that may have registered or contacted the school for assistance.  If the school cannot handle the donation directly, they will certainly know where to direct it within the school district.  

2.  Your Local Department of Social Services: Donate to your local Department of Social Services.  Most such Departments have organized drives for school supply donations from local charities, churches, and organizations on an annual basis, if not more frequently.   These Departments match the donated supplies with the families in need who contact their Department for assistance.  Chances are there is a long list of students and families awaiting assistance and generosity from others in their community in order for their kids to attend school with adequate supplies, clothing, and materials.

3.  Your Church or a Local Church:  Many local churches run food, clothing, and similar types of donation “closets” or “pantries” for families in need who might contact the church for assistance.  These churches rely entirely on the generosity of those donating the goods and items, or cash used to purchase such items.  The church usually has a standing list of families or children awaiting aid and assistance in terms of school supplies and clothing and they are more than happy to accept donations so that they can match them to the families in need.  Many churches partner with individual schools or school districts to coordinate drives and donations of this type.  Additionally, in early August, many churches in Virginia, North Carolina, and other states have “backpack drives” for needy children.  The churches encourage their members to bring in new or very gently used backpacks filled with age-appropriate school supplies (most local stores have sample school supply lists for local schools broken down by age or grade and these lists are prominently located in the school supplies shopping area), and then the backpacks are donated and dedicated on a particular Sunday.  The church then, in turn, takes them to the local schools or school districts to disseminate to the families in need who have contacted those organizations to express a need. 

No matter the particular place you decide to donate, the important thing is to do so. 

No matter where you choose to donate your extra or unused school supplies, the important thing is that you remember that at this special time of year in a child’s life, the focus should be on returning to school and learning in the best possible environment rather than how to fit in or get by back at school without the necessary and assigned supplies.  The few extra dollars you spend may very well make a huge difference in the life of a child and in their overall educational experience.