Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tell them where to stick their school supplies

A 99% recycled post from Going Green Mama. But it's for a good cause....

The front-page feature of our local newspaper the other day was on a public school teacher determined to have supplies ready for each of her students this fall.So determined she was, and knowing that many of her students were impoverished, she ended up dumpster diving at a very affluent suburban school district. She ended up with three carloads worth of school supplies, many of them in wrappers.

This story really struck a nerve with me. And the more I've thought about it, the madder I've gotten.

It's not even about the wastefulness of tossing these supplies. It's that these could have with very little effort gone to brightening someone's day.

It just took a few minutes of brainstorming to come up with 10 places to donate school supplies:

  1. Scout troop.
  2. Freecyle.
  3. Vacation Bible Schools, preschool programs and Parent's Day Out.
  4. Day care centers.
  5. Homeless shelters.
  6. Any social service organization - many clients may have to take their children with them, and art supplies and notebooks would occupy them while they are waiting.
  7. Goodwill.
  8. Garage sales.
  9. Survival packets to take to church (or any other place where kids have to be quiet but struggle.) It's great to be able to hand a frustrated parent some extra crayons and pages to color on!
  10. Retirement homes. You'd be surprised what craft supplies will do to help our older generations who just need some stimulation!

Any place else I missed? Where else would you tell them to stick it?


Green Bean said...

Great ideas! Especially love the church one.

Brenda said...

How about making them prizes during games at the end of the school year? I can still remember the excitement of a book bag full of freebies at the end of the term. Give them back to the kids that they were 'intended for' to use for projects during the summer. Or heaven forbid, keep them to use the next year and save some taxpayers money... I have seen the waste at schools first hand and it is maddening. The dumpster diving teacher is my soul sister! My husband and I have been known to do this on many an occassion and have taught our son the same. If we cannot use it, we will find people in need that can. Wonderful post!

Daisy said...

This upsets me something awful. I don't let my students throw their supplies away. In June they must either take them home or leave them with me. That's how I save enough paper to provision my next class, and it's how I teach my kids to pay it forward.
Consider a homeless shelter or after school program for donations.

Dea-chan said...

My mother is a HS teacher and every year, has a deal with the janitors that she can go through the lockers with them. They've trashed brand new sneakers, millions of articles of clothing, backpacks, books, notebooks, etc. She rescues the paper, pens/pencils, and notebooks. She even found two graphing calculators (one of which was given to me for my HS pre-calc and calc class -- as it was a requirement).

It doesn't matter how much the parents want to recycle (if they even do), but with the degree of waste these kids are accustomed to, they don't even think about it.

Wendy said...

The waiting rooms at free clinic or the ER. The children's wing (or any wing, for that matter) of a hospital - especially a charity hospital.

We have all kinds of non-profit educational programs/facilities in our area that could use supplies like this.

You mentioned a Day Care, but also a preschool.

We homeschool, and we just don't throw away school supplies, because they are precious, but we can afford new ones. That's not true for many of the homeschoolers I know. One year, I was contacted by a homeschooler in Zimbabwe ... yes, in Africa. She was trying to start a homeschool resource center and needed some help with getting supplies. She was happy for just about anything, new or used, as stuff was terribly scarce (this was just about the time their economy was collapsing) or prohibitively expensive. We sent her a bunch of stuff.

On that same note, there are dozens of not-for-profit organizations that take school supplies overseas to those countries who are struggling just to provide teachers, much less school supplies. They would be thrilled to have these sorts of supplies.

Also, a few years ago, I belonged to a group that sent care packages to our soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them were working on community building projects, in particular trying to rebuild schools, and they would have been THRILLED to have been given school supplies for the children in those schools.

So, yes, as you say, there are dozens and dozens of places to send new and USED school supplies where they would be much appreciated and throwing them away is so ... wasteful!

brenna said...

That is really disgusting that school supplies, still in wrappers, would just be thrown away. Hopefully the school in the story has learned something from this teacher.


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