We visited a church yesterday and they announced that they had just filled 1,600 backpacks with school supplies for area children in need. They thanked all those that gave $20.00 to fill a backpack. They also thanked all the volunteers who filled each backpack with the needed supplies. It sounds like such a simple thing and we may even wonder if it really makes a difference.
I think it does make a huge difference in a child’s life…of all ages. I have participated in helping to fill backpacks at my church and I’ve even organized events to do so. I have dropped off supplies at collection spots at various stores that are doing a school supply drive. One of my favorites was helping organize a back to school party for children that were living at a local home that ministered to moms and their children while going through a rough time in life.
Recently, I watched a young girl that I know show all of her fun school supplies that she had ready for her new school year on her youtube channel. She was so cute in showing all the fun pens, markers, bags and spirals that her mom bought for her. Everything was pink and sparkly.
It took me back to all the years when I was growing up. I remember going to the local drugstore in Ft. Stockton, Texas with my mom and picked out my Big Chief tablet and jumbo pencil. My very favorite were some erasers that you could put on top of your pencil that were in pretty colors and the shape of animals. To top it off, I was able to get a red plaid satchel and a Casper the Friendly Ghost lunch box. I was all set.
The next several years wouldn’t be so easy when it came to school supplies. By the time I was in the 4th grade, I would have attended 7 different schools. My dad was a surveyor and we moved a lot evidently. For an extremely shy little girl, I hung in there. After 4th grade, we settled in Texas and I graduated from the local high school.
Each year was extremely hard for my mom to purchase school supplies for my two brothers and myself. I remember getting by with the absolute minimum of notebook paper, a pencil and if anything else was needed, my mom would do her best to get it on each pay day. Oh, how I loved pens that were in different colors. When the colored notebook paper came out, it was over. I dreamed of writing on colored paper. (Maybe that explains why now in my craft room, I have every type and color of pen and markers possible.)
After classes started it seemed that a teacher would always tell the class of something we needed, such as a folder, or a special spiral notebook. I dreaded telling my mom what I needed as it caused more stress on our finances. I remember one time after I told her I needed a spiral, she said, “Do they think money grows on trees!” We get tickled now thinking about those days, but at the time, it wasn’t so funny. My mom was a single mom taking care of three kids on her own without any type of child support. She is an amazing mom, by the way.
A really bad time was in Jr. High. I had to have gym clothes and shoes for P.E. After a few months of going to gym class and going to the “locked cage” to get my gym clothes/shoes for the day, I noticed my shoes were missing from my basket. I asked the girls that were working in the cage area if they had seen my shoes….of course, the answer was “no.” I went to the coach and told her that my shoes were missing. She told me to wear my socks and get some new shoes as soon as possible. When I told my mom what happened and that I needed new shoes, well….you can imagine. My mom wouldn’t get paid for another two weeks, so I went for two weeks wearing socks in gym class. Not good! The P.E. teacher came to me and said, “do not come back to class without any shoes.” Fortunately, my mom got paid just in time and we went down to the local Gibsons and purchased me some new shoes for gym class.
All that to say, I hope you will consider helping kiddos out this year with some school supplies, clothes, gym shoes, whatever you think someone would need. You never know what kids are going through and the struggles that a parent may be having with their finances.
Today, there are so many churches that are working to supply children with supplies. Stores set up barrels for people to donate whatever they can in the way of supplies.
Something else to think about. Instead of waiting for a ministry to do a call for supplies, it’s possible that you know of someone in your extended family, in your neighborhood, work or church that you can gift them with something special for school or a certain need they have.
We aren’t even talking about clothes! I could do another entire post on school clothes!
And, one favor from me. When you do give a child/teen the gift of supplies for school, do it discreetly and with lot’s of love. Don’t do it for the world to see, do it just for them.
Oh, and if it’s a little shy girl, give her something oh, so cute and sparkly with a note telling her that she is going to make it!