Each year, as the new school term is approaching, we are reminded just how it is to provide education for our children. The ever rising cost of education has left many school districts and classrooms in desperate need of adequate supplies to carry out even the most basic processes of education. Many studies have indicated that the average teacher contributes several hundred dollars of his or her own money each school year to defray some of the costs of operation of their classrooms. It is becoming more common for teachers to send each student home on the first day of the school year with a comprehensive list of supplies the parents are expected to provide.
There’s no question about it, education is an expensive proposition under the best of circumstances. Funding cuts on the local, state and federal level only serve to make matters worse. For the parent or concerned citizen interested in finding ways to donate school supplies to a classroom in need, there are a variety of options available. Although personal donations are readily acceptable, few of us have the financial resources to make a great impact on an individual basis. There are ways to coordinate donations within your community to benefit local schools.
Check with your local grocery store. Many participate in programs that will donate a small portion of your sales receipt to the purchase of classroom supplies or even computer equipment. You may need to sign up for their shopper’s card to participate.
Check with your school district. Some manufacturers will provide information on programs that collect labels, box tops, coupons or sales receipts cut from the packaging of purchased food items. Box Tops for Education, sponsored by General Mills, and Labels for Education, sponsored by Campbell’s, are just two sources of free school supplies for participating consumers.
Contact your local school or individual teachers directly. Ask what they need. Since so many teachers contribute funding to their classrooms from their own pockets, you can be sure they will appreciate donations of paper, pencils, crayons or art supplies. Even such seldom considered items such as facial tissue or paper clips can go a long way to improving the educational experience in the classroom.
If you think your small contribution is too insignificant to matter, stretch your horizons. Enlist the aid of your school’s PTA or start a concerned group from your church, office or bowling team. Together you can raise money through bake sales, raffles or Chinese auctions that can be used to purchase textbooks, computer equipment or whatever else may be lacking in your local classrooms. Your family may only be able to save half a dozen food labels in a week, but your entire church community can raise that total exponentially.
Remember, even though your local school district may not be hurting financially, there are many that are. Education is the foundation for the future. If you have the desire to help, there will always be a welcome home for your donations. Contact your local governing body to put you in touch with an economically needy classroom if none exists in your own community. Every student deserves an opportunity to get a good education.