This post originally appeared on GivingCityAustin. Please check the post for updates.
There could never be enough school supply drives. Here’s why:
According to the Texas Education Agency, this past school year, 47 percent of the students in Central Texas (Region 13) schools were considered “economically disadvantaged” — and of those about 84 percent qualify for a free lunch. Not just a reduced-price lunch; a free lunch.
This means next month more than 185,000 students in Central Texas are going to have a hard time buying new school supplies — almost half the kids going to school.
As generous as local school supply drives are, our efforts are filling only a fraction of the need. Usually, and unfortunately, teachers are the ones who provide supplies for students without.
So when you help send a child to school with supplies, you’re not only restoring that child’s sense of dignity, you’re supporting a teacher and an entire classroom. It’s amazing what your $20 can do.
Want to make the most impact? Follow these four suggestions:
1. Monetary donations are better than donations of actual school supplies. Many of these organizations like For The Children can purchase school supplies in bulk, so your donation of $20 will go a lot further.
2. That being said, if you have a crate of glue sticks to unload, by all means donate them. Remember that name brands count for some teachers and schools, so if you can spring for the Crayola brand, that helps. Just remember to donate a gift, not a burden.
3. If you miss one of these school supply drives, consider giving directly to a school. Most schools offices open back up the second week of August for teacher orientations and trainings. Call the office in the morning to ask about when you can drop them off.
4. Consider volunteering as well. While your group really wants to collect a big pile of school supplies, you might also consider signing up for distribution days. Lots of opportunities below.
If you need school supplies, always contact your school first (try the second week of August). They can either let you know if you qualify for school supplies or direct you to an organization that can help. Also, try dialing 2-1-1 for information about getting supplies for your children.
AUSTIN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
On August 15, Austin ISD will host the 10th annual Back to School Bash Celebration and Safety Fair from 9 a.m.–noon at the Palmer Events Center. More than 130 community and district organizations will offer exhibits for AISD families to learn more about the services and programs that can help students enjoy a safe and successful school year. More than 8,000 people are expected to attend.
VOLUNTEER: AISD raises money to purchase the supplies vie corporate sponsorships, but volunteers are invited to sign up for one of two shifts on August 15, one from 7-10am and one from 9:45am-12:45pm.
PICK UP SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Free backpacks of school supplies will be available to students in Austin ISD, while supplies last. The event will also offer presentations on safety and educational best practices; nurses from Dell Children’s/AISD Health Services toprovide free vaccinations (families must present student shot records), and Kids Vision for Life Central Texas to provide free vision exams and eyeglasses.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit AISD Back to School Bash
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS
DONATE: More than 1,000 Communities In Schools (CIS) students will need school supplies when school starts back. You can help! Your donation of less than $20 will provide a CIS student with a full set of supplies for 2015-16. Click here to donate. Accepting donations until July 31, 2015.
PICK UP SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Supplies will be distributed on the campuses where CIS has programming (61 in Central Texas) for students enrolled in CIS. To find out if your child is enrolled in the CIS program at his or her school, contact your school’s office.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Communities in Schools of Central Texas
HINDU CHARITIES FOR AMERICA & JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER AUSTIN
VOLUNTEER: The school supplies have been ordered and will be packed on Sunday, August 17, starting at 11 am at Dell Jewish Community Campus on 7300 Hart Lane, 78731. The schools will pick up the supplies. The organizations raised funds for school supplies for more than 1,000 homeless children in Del Valle, Manor and Austin ISDs. Light refreshments will be provided. There will be dance program for the kids after the packing is done. Children, adults and seniors invited.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call 512.994.4638 or visit Hindu Charities for America.
FOR THE CHILDREN INC.
Campaign runs July 15 – August 30. For the Children’s school supply fundraising drive is now in its 26th year. FTC currently serves children in Pre-K to 4th Grade in 10 school districts: Austin, Del Valle, Georgetown, Manor, Pflugerville, Leander, Round Rock, Dripping Springs, Lake Travis, Lago Vista and Hays Consolidated. One hundred percent of your donation goes toward buying new school supplies.
DONATE: Since FTC purchases supplies in bulk, as little as $40 can provide basic school supplies for 10 students. Contributions can be made securely online at www.schoolsuppliesforthechildren.org or mailed to For The Children Inc. at P.O. Box 29346, Austin, TX 78755.
OTHER WAYS TO DONATE:
- Businesses, organizations, groups and individuals can join the Crayon Club to sponsor the low income students of an entire school.
- H-E-B stores are providing an easy way to give by having scan coupons available at the cash registers July 15-August 31.
- Join AmazonSmiles and select For the Children as your charity.
PICK UP SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Supplies are distributed to the schools prior to the start of the school year so that children can start the school year on a happy note.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call 512-505-5712; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit For the Children.
MANOS DE CRISTO
Manos’ Annual Back-to-School Program is set to help thousands of Central Texas children, Pre-K through 5th grades July 20-24, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Friday; while supplies last.
DONATE: $40 per child underwrites the cost to provide a child with two new sets of clothing, socks, underwear, and a brand new backpack filled with age appropriate school supplies. To make a donation, visit Manos Back to School Program.
VOLUNTEER: Sign up via Volunteer Spot for shifts: Morning 8:00 a.m. – 11 a.m. shift or afternoon shift from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Opportunities include welcoming clients, entertaining children, helping students select clothing and supplies, registering and cleaning up. They’d love someone to volunteer to take video!
PICK UP SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Allan Elementary School, 4900 Gonzales St., Austin, TX 78702 (Bus options: #4-Montopolis or #350-Airport Blvd.) Families in need begin lining up as early as 2:00 a.m. for the first come, first served back to school clothing and supplies. Community volunteers will help 400 children each day through the program.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.manosdecristo.org/BTS2015.html, or contact Julie Ballesteros, Executive Director at (512) 477-7454.
ROUND ROCK PARTNERS IN EDUCATION FOUNDATION
DONATE: Donations accepted until October 1st. Round Rock ISD currently has over 13,000 students who qualify for free basic school supplies. Monetary donations are now being accepted for Round Rock Partners in Education Foundation. Donation levels are designed to meet both corporate and individuals’ giving budgets. Individuals might want to “adopt” a student ($10 per child) so they may receive a bag of new school supplies.
VOLUNTEER: Volunteers asked to sign up for slots to help distribute supplies on August 5-6, taking place at Cedar Ridge HS, 2801 Gattis School Road, Round Rock. More information here.
PICK UP SUPPLIES: School supplies are provided to Round Rock ISD students who participate in the free and reduced lunch program. This year’s school supplies’ distribution day will be held at Cedar Ridge High School in August. Children will receive a bag with grade-appropriate supplies including notebooks, paper, rulers, and writing utensils.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Dawn Steele or Marianne Reap, at 512-464-5602, or visit Round Rock Education Fund.
SAFEPLACE BACK-TO-SCHOOL DRIVE
DONATE: Donations of supplies accepted until August 31. All donations will go to the students living in our Emergency Shelter and Supportive Housing Units, and are also available to the children who participate in SafePlace counseling programs, or whose parents are part of counseling and prevention programs.
To view a wish list of supplies, click here.
Donations of supplies may be dropped off at SafePlace’s Donations Warehouse at 1515 Grove Blvd, Austin, TX 78741 during donation hours:
● Tuesdays 10 AM – 3 PM
● Wednesdays 10 AM – 6 PM
● Thursday 10 AM – 3 PM
● Friday 10 AM – 3 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Erin Cooper, SafePlace Community Relations Coordinator, at email@example.com or at 512-356-1577.
DONATE: Bring a donation in for Easter Seals to 7817 Rockwood Ln. on Tuesday through Saturdays, 10am-6pm, and your child (5 and under) can play for FREE! All donations will go to low-income children getting ready to go back to school.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Liza Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-765-4174.
CARING FAMILY NETWORK
DONATE: Caring Family Network supports 150 foster and adoptive families across Central Texas. This year, it’s trying to fill 272 backpacks for kids fro elementary to high school.
Caring Family Network is partnering with Kits for Kidz again this summer to obtain low-cost quality school supplies for our children in care. A donation of about $20 can fill a backpack.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Learn how to donate here.