Schools are usually considered safe places, but natural disasters quickly throw them into distress mode. When tornadoes, floods or other tragedies destroy property, here’s how you can help. Consider the following donations:
School supplies –
Think of the basic supplies – notebook paper, pocket folders, 3-ring binders, writing pads and memo pads. Writing and other utensils needed for class are pencils, pens, pencil pouches and rulers.
For upper grades, there is a need for reference books: Dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauruses, study manuals, and literature are vital. Other donations that will be needed – college-ruled notebook paper, graph paper, slide rulers, protractors, compasses and calculators (both basic and scientific). Check with school staff for other ideas.
Art supplies –
After a disaster, students need to express themselves verbally and actively to deal with their emotions. Creating something beautiful can help them deal with the recent disaster and move forward. Your donation of crayons, colored pencils, markers and craft paper will be welcomed by both teachers and students.
Other craft supplies include tempera paint mixes, paint brushes, modeling clay and Play-doh, plain and/or colorful craft sticks, chenille pipe cleaners in various colors, felt shapes, foam shapes, colorful tissue paper, stickers and stencils.
You may also wish to see if storage bins, trays or boxes are needed to corral basic supplies. Ask the staff if they would like you to donate newspapers or a roll of newsprint to protect surfaces and to use for paper crafts and projects.
Sports equipment –
Activity is healthy for children. It also helps relieve stress and brings the world back into focus after a tragedy. Consider donating equipment for basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball, etc.
Other helpful items are hand-held weights, exercise mats, sweat bands, T-shirts in school colors, etc. Check first with the school to see if local or regional vendors have promised the needed sports equipment. If not, ask for specific lists from the school coach and physical education staff.
Health-related items –
Every classroom needs tissues for coughs and sneezes. Individual packets are great, along with a box for the teacher’s desk or another central location. Hand sanitizer and wet wipes will come in handy to prevent the spread of germs. Ask the school nurse what supplies are needed for basic “emergencies.”
Check with the janitor before you drop off any disinfectant sprays, Clorox or other cleaning products. The school may have restrictions on how much can be stored or held on site.
Natural disasters affect the whole community. Helping your schools get back up and running gives students a sense of things returning to “normal” once more. If you can help do that, through donations, you’ve helped ease the distress mode of schools – and that’s a very good thing.