Basic school supplies cost the typical New York high school student about $100 each fall, according to the New York State School Boards Association. Teachers’ budgets there have been cut from $240 to $150, leaving students and parents to fill the gap. Since students also need to buy clothes and shoes as well as pay fees for athletics, music programs and laboratory classes, the cost of public education is very high for some budgets. People can help ease the struggle for these families by deciding to donate school supplies.
Call the school
When parents and students need financial assistance with school supplies, they typically contact the school. If you want to donate materials, this is often the best way to do so. Counselors there should have a clear idea of what kinds of materials most students need and can help with distribution. Many schools divvy up donated supplies based upon financial need.
Parent-teacher organizations in a number of school districts have come together to try to help with the supply crunch. Some buy products in bulk at lower prices and pass that savings on to members. You can give products or cash to these groups.
Churches and groups like the United Way often collect school supplies for students. Even if you are not a member of a local church, you can give donated materials that they typically distribute to the entire community as needed.
Look for donation kiosks in local businesses, large and small. Big chain stores like Stapes, OfficeMax and Walmart have set up donation centers for school supplies in some cities. Local businesses may also have programs or be willing to start them. If you don’t see someplace to donate materials, ask.
If you can’t find a place to donate school items, start your own collection. Visit local offices and ask for donations of used items like 3-ring notebooks. Start a “pencil-per-employee” donation drive. You can get free publicity from local media like the newspaper and radio, and most businesses, large and small, will be willing to help you collect donations for such a cause. Notify the school district before you get started so you can get their support and help with advertising, as well. A little time, effort and/or cash on your part can help make the school year easier for a needy family.
Lisa W. Foderaro. “Get Pad and Pen: The School Supply List is Long.” The New York Times. 29 Aug. 2008. Nytimes.com.