Backpacks full of new notebooks, unsharpened pencils, fresh pens and markers — school supplies mark the beginning of a new academic year. But many kids can’t afford new supplies and teachers often have to pay out of pocket so that their students will have the materials needed for the school year.
So if your kids (or younger relatives) have any of last year’s items lying around that could be reused, or if you feel like spending some money to purchase new supplies, here are a few places that are looking for donations:
1. Create the Good: This website launched by AARP helps donors by providing a top ten list of the most needed items as determined by the National Association of Elementary Schools Principals Foundation. The site also offers suggestions of how to start your own school supply drive (or contribute to an already exsisting one).
2. Operation International Children: Originally just serving Iraqi children, this organization has expanded their reach to include students in all parts of the world where the U.S. military has a prescence. The site shows donors how to build school supply kits and even accepts sports and exercise related items.
3. Donors Choose: As the school year moves along, teachers will come up with plenty of classroom projects to engage their students. But projects tend to require supplies and/or funding, which is where Donors Choose comes in. The site allows teachers to post project proposals and then donors can scroll through the ideas (based on subject, location, and school) and choose which one they’d like to donate to. After the project is fully funded and completed, donors can view student photos and thank you notes on the site.
4. Soles4Souls: School clothes are another expense that many can’t afford every school year, and with the rate that kids outgrow shoes and clothing, it can be a necessary one. Soles4Souls collects gently worn shoes and accepts monetary donations to provide shoes for disadvantaged children. The site also identifies areas of the U.S. and abroad that are most in need of donors’ help.
5. National Cristina Foundation: With the current advancement of technology, many computers are out of date within a few years. We can recycle our old Macs and PCs, or we can donate them to those who can’t afford one their own. The National Cristina Foundation accepts computer (and computer related accessories) donations and matches them with needy schools, non-profits, and public agencies. Schools can also apply for equipment here.