- Virginia Johnson
It's time to stand in line and complain about the high cost of school supplies. Parents groan, whip out their pieces of plastic, gnash their teeth, and pay up. It's what we do every year. Even after checking for the best sales and rebates, the total is still hard to take. But this is what we have to do. And yet, have you ever considered that you are lucky to be able to do it at all?
For all the kids who roll their eyes, yawn, and fuss over notebook covers, there are those who would absolutely love a chance to buy their very own school supplies. Some live across the world and some live in your town. While you're checking off the almighty school supply list, grab an extra pad of paper, set of folders, box of colored pencils or perhaps even a backpack.
Once you have the goods in hand, you can drop them off at any school. All schools need extras of basic supplies. Sometimes a church or synagogue will coordinate with area agencies to provide not only new school supplies but also new or quality used clothing for back to school for those in need.
If you'd rather skip the trip to mall mayhem, these online charities allow you to provide local assistance without leaving home:
"Teachers ask. Donors choose. Students learn."
Desks, tennis balls, flannel board sets, skeletons, and so much more. Here, teachers ask for online monetary donations to be used for very specific supplies. A good search engine allows donors to search by subject area, types of supplies, school district, and greatest need.
This non-profit site matches donors with needy teachers. Donors can give money or specifically requested goods and receive a receipt for tax deductions. Schools that have been verified are marked with a gold star. Teachers register their needs with the site. Donors respond to requests by corresponding with the teachers via e-mail to find the most efficient ways to meet the needs.
There are children in some parts of the world to whom something as simple and as inexpensive as a pencil would make a difference in their schooling. In places ravaged by wars, famine or simple poverty, even pencils are hard to come by. This kind of giving can yield a rich harvest of bright, supremely motivated young people who can in years to come help to turn their country's fortunes around.
Central Asia Institute
Central Asia Institute promotes community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This organization was founded by the author of the best-selling book, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations, One School at a Time.
Give a Kid a Backpack
Give a Kid a Backpack Foundation collects backpacks filled with school supplies and hand delivers them directly to poor children around the world. GKB has delivered to backpacks filled with school supplies to United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, Uganda, Afghanistan and the Dominican Republic.
Operation Iraqi Children
OIC has delivered to Iraq over 200,000 school supply kits, along with more than half a million toys and thousands of Arabic-language books, shoes, blankets, backpacks and sets of sports equipment, all of which have been distributed to Iraqi children by our troops. While our focus remains on Iraq, in recent months, OIC has extended its reach, sending shipments of school supplies to Afghanistan and the east African nation of Djibouti, where American troops are distributing them to children in need.