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Donate School Supplies

It seems like I have just finished putting away all the unused school supplie my children brought home with them when school got out. Yet, it seems to be time to buy new supplies, and I know itís going to be a huge expense. I may not like paying for the supplies, but at least I can. Did you know there are nearly 13 million kids under the age of 18 that are living in poverty? How on Earth are they going to pay for school supplies? They are going to rely on donations to the United Way's "Stuff the Bus" campaign and to the ďDo Something 101Ē school supply campaign led by Do Something and Staples.

This year marks the third year that Staples, the office supply superstore, and Do Something, the non-profit youth advocacy organization, have teamed up to collect school supplies. And whatís wonderful is that they are asking teens to do most of the work. I think itís great when kids help kids.

So, hereís how it works. In addition to donating more than $125,000 worth of school supplies, Staples stores nationwide are serving as a collection site for donated supplies between now and September 18, 2010. You donít even have to purchase the donated supplies at a Staples store Ė you can buy supplies elsewhere and drop it off at Staples. Thatís particularly cool, I think.

The retailer is even going to accept cash donations if you donít feel like purchasing the actual supplies. Not to worry Ė 100% of your donation goes into the school supply program. And, something I think is great; all donations made in your area go directly to needy school children in your local community.

Do Something is also encouraging kids to host school supply drives themselves and drop off the collected items at a local Staples store. When interested kids register their school supply drives on the Do Something website, theyíll receive an action kit with stickers, flyers and other useful information to help make the school supply drive successful. Kids can wait until school is back in session and host a drive at school, or they can run a school supply drive at summer camp or in their neighborhood. Gather friends, family, Girl Scout troops, and others to help.

According to Do Something, the list of most-needed supplies are: pens; 3-ring binders; boxes of color pencils; loose-leaf paper; book covers; spiral notebooks; #2 pencils; highlighters; index cards; pocket folders, and boxes of washable markers.

United Way's "Stuff the Bus" campaign is similar, only they are bringing the bus directly to donors across the country. They are making stops at various locations where they will accept your donations of new dupplies. Or, by going to their website, you can donate $25 that will be enough to purchase a brand new backpack and fill it with new supplies.

Did you know that the average teacher spends nearly $700 annually from her own pocket to provide supplies for her students? You can also help make the load lighter for these teachers by fulfilling their school supply wishes. I recently wrote an article about DonorsChoose.org, which matches donors to teachers in need of materials. Thereís also ILoveTeachers, Adopt a Classroom and Support Your Teacher, all organizations that provide opportunities for donors to get needed supplies into the classroom.

Paper and pencils seem pretty basic enough that I used to take them for granted. Not anymore. This week, when I finally get to the store to buy school supplies for my three children, Iím going to buy a little extra and drop it in the collection box. Itís just one small way to make a big difference.

United Way's Stuff the Bus
Do Something 101
Support Your Teacher
Donors Choose
I Love Teachers
Support Your Teacher

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