It all started a few weeks ago. I kept hearing the good old “I wants” and “I needs” and “I have to gets.” It being Summer, it seemed even more prominent. When I finally had heard enough, I pulled out the same speech we’ve all said and we’ve all heard:
you already have so much! Don’t forget there are kids who don’t have anything near what you have. Think about everything you really, really need. And how much that costs. Think about the kids who have trouble getting things like a healthy dinner. And new shoes. And school supplies!
Which got us all thinking.
And then, like magic often happens, I received an invite to participate in this campaign, spreading the word about the PURELL Lend a Hand promotion for Champions for Kids, which provides for kids in need, through a (this) sponsored post.
And so, I laid the golden egg.
What about those kids? The ones who have trouble getting new school supplies? That long list of things you need to start out the school year?
We talked about all the items on the school supplies list in our own community and how it adds up. And, as a group, mostly led by Big (age 10) we decided that this year, we’d see what we could do about helping kids in our own community.
Having been an elementary school teacher, I knew that even in a comfortable suburban area there are families facing hard times: be it a medical issue, the loss of a job, the loss of a parent… there are multiple ways that families will find it difficult to fulfill the school supply list each year. So, I called the principal, who confirmed that there’s always a need for more supplies*, and put me in touch with our school caseworker.
A friend was shocked. She asked why we were collecting supplies for our school, rather than a city school, where kids were more likely to be in need. The answer directly reflects on getting my kids involved. Kids at this age need to understand how things affect them. Think back to when you were an elementary school kid and your mom or grandmother told you to eat your peas because “there are kids starving in Africa.” Well, it’s true. There are. Having never been to Africa, it was a lot harder for a child to imagine how that impacts her.
Tell a child that there are kids in your own community that are in need and they see it differently. They see how important it is to help within their own community. They want to help.
So. Let them help.
We decided that we’d start up a collection. We budgeted money to buy backpacks and supplies, and, with help from PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer coupons, as well as the excellent prices at Walmart, we started filling.
Originally, we thought to invite friends to pitch in when they came to our house for a Friday night get together, but rain rained out our dinner plans, so we adapted. Instead, we started sharing information on Facebook and through word of mouth, and the donations started rolling in. We made other moms cry. We brought the bright and new backpacks to our community pool and collected there.
We set up a plastic crate on our front porch, Big made a “thank you” note and people began dropping off supplies at all hours.
And it just took off. Even better? It’s still going on. Last night, we came home to spiral notebooks and pencils.
The night before, a case of tissues.
Today, when I got home from errands there was a bag of full of supplies.
And people tell us they’ll pick up more when they’re running errands and at the grocery store.
What I love about this is that it’s not me making the difference. It’s my kids. On August 25, when I drive the kids and the supplies to the school to meet the caseworker and deliver our donation, my 5th grader, 3rd grader and pre-Kindergartner are going to be a part of making a difference. Of helping others. They’ll receive the “thank you” for helping. They’ll be told they’re making a difference.
And they’ll tell their friends.
How can your kids help in your community?
It’s so easy–SO easy to help. Start by talking to your kids about what interests them. Is it that people are hungry? In need of clothing or supplies? Do they want to make kids in the hospital feel a little better with a gift? Talk to your kids about their interests and guide them to come up with an easy drive or activity to help others.
After talking with the school principal, we used Facebook and email to spread the word about our collection. Often times, a collection like this will just take off and support itself. Word-of-mouth is a magical thing.
To learn more about the PURELL® Lend a Hand programs with Champions for Kids, visit the website.
Want to donate to our drive?
If your family lives locally (Chester County, PA) and wants to donate, let me know and we’ll coordinate a drop-spot. We’re collecting through August 24.
After chatting with the PTO director, we also learned that money collected throughout the year also helps supply families in need with school supplies. Of course, this collection is not to diminish the exceptional involvement, care and interest our PTO already offers towards its families. The purpose is to supplement and provide even more. And to give kids, rather than parents, an opportunity to make that difference.
The PTO did share that what the school needs most right now are PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, boxes of tissues, Ziploc baggies (sandwich and gallon size), earbuds or headphones and batteries. A teacher also shared that they’re in need of electric pencil sharpeners, bean bag and stadium chairs, classroom art supplies, and lots and lots of paper of all kinds.
Why hand sanitizer?
I’m including this because I *know* my dad will wonder. He’s always asking if antibacterial soaps are really necessary. Afterall, we all grew up without them. But as a parent of a child with severe allergies to peanuts, sunflower seeds and chia seeds (yep. It’s all brand new to us and I have a lot more to share, but that will be a future post), I can promise you that a plentiful classroom supply of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer will make an enormous difference to classrooms. Not only will it help children clean their hands of gross germs that circulate through classrooms all year long, but wipes and gels make it easy for kids to thoroughly clean their hands after eating foods that other kids may be allergic to.
© 2014, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.