Back-to-school. For some it’s a happy return to normalcy, for others it marks the end of summer freedom. But there is more than that. There is also that costly school supply shopping list.
This year, for the first time, we hosted Donate to Educate: a school supply drive for families in our community. There are several reasons school supplies are not accessible to many children, such as their cost, the number of children in a family, the time to pick up the items, and the potential health risk when shopping in public places during a pandemic.
According to the National Retail Federation, families with school-aged children expect to pay an average of over $860 for back-to-school shopping in 2022 (https://nrf.com/insights/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/back-to-school).
Education and inclusivity are essential to our mission. Knowing this, GCM Program Director Reyna Edwards developed this campaign.
“We wanted to do something to help parents that, while excited, might be a little stressed with the cost of buying school supplies,” Reyna said. “I wanted to bring some ease with the supply drive because I know whether needing support with school supplies, or crossing the street, everyone at some point, just needs a helping hand.”
The donations we asked for included backpacks, notebooks, pencils, folders, erasers, and pencil pouches. These items are great for children entering pre-kindergarten all the way to a senior in high school!
In total, we collected shy of 660 combined packaged and single items, and gave away 11 backpacks filled with school supplies to seven families. Backpacks were given to students heading into kindergarten all the way up to 11th grade!
Remaining supplies were donated to the Guilford Education Alliance’s Teacher Supply Warehouse, an initiative established to off-set the costs of classroom supplies for Guilford County School teachers. According to the Guilford Education Alliance, “the average teacher spends $600-$1,000 of their own money on classroom supplies.”
Thank you to all who supported this mission – we couldn’t have done it without the community, and the help of local news station WFMY to get the message to the public!
In anticipation for a second Donate the Educate supply drive, Reyna said, “I can’t wait to see how next year turns out!”