School supplies are pricey, but happily for most Americans, we live in a country where we can find great prices on back to school supplies. Not all nations enjoy free public education. How about making a back to school supplies kit for a child in need? In Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood, we know that he had not access to the simplest of school supplies- paper, pen and ink. President Lincoln did his school math computations and grammar exercises by scratching with a stick in the soot encrusted on the coal scuttle. Few people had access to these luxuries. That way over a century and a half ago, but in third world nations, nations torn by violence and poverty, these condiitons still exist. Children don’t have enough to eat, let alone access to public education or school supplies. I believe that education is the key to empower children to break the cycle of poverty, ignorance and want. How about if we with access to plenty, took just a few dollars and made some school supply kits for the needy?
Our Catholic church parish has a sister parish that we twin with at Morne Hopital in Haiti. The school is called St. Simon and Jude. Many churches, synagogues and mosques in wealthy western countries partner with poorer fellow believers in other countries. Military bases and organizations collect school supplies and donate them. Even businesses like Staples organizes school supplies donation drives. Like St. Patrick’s parish in Grand Haven, there are school supplies drives in almost every community. If you are unable to find a drop off location for school supplies, click here for International Aid, in Spring Lake Michigan. They collect supplies for the needy world-wide. They will link you to donation sites in your community.
What should go in a school supplies kit? Here’s an easy, inexpensive shopping list. International Aid packages their kits is gallon Ziploc zippered bags. The kit should include several #2 school pencils, a notebook (available at back-to-school sales for $.05-$.15 each), a pencil sharpener (can usually be found for a quarter at BTS sales), a ruler and compass, child-sized scissors, a glue stick, crayons, colored pencils or markers (crayons will melt in the sun, and should only be donated to local missions and not overseas missions is hot countries). I add a personal Chapstick and tissue packet. For more on school supply kit donations, visit these links: