Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Will You Help Me?

I have an extreme love of school supply shopping.  Some might call it a mild obsession.  Come each July, I eagerly anticipate the weekly ads that bring news of super low prices on must-have school supplies.  When I was a teacher, this was easy to justify.  I worked at a low-income school, so I considered the supplies I bought for my classroom to be part of my ministry to my students.  Many of their families could not afford to get everything on the supply list, and I was so happy to be able to help with what I purchased at such low prices.

Last July was the first year I had no class for whom I could purchase supplies.  I felt a bit forlorn each week, but took comfort in the fact that my best friend let me do the school supply shopping for her daughter.  However, I realized something was missing.  Although I had fun shopping, I was no longer ministering to those in need; I was no longer giving through school supplies.  I needed to find a way to do that.

So this year, I decided to make a plan.  I originally thought I would organize a school supply drive of my own, perhaps through our church.  But then,  I recently read an article that said if you want to have the most impact with your giving, it is often best to support a bigger charity.  Large charity organizations already have distribution channels mapped out, and are more capable of determining where the needs are.  I decided to support HopeLink with my supplies donations this year.  They are a fantastic organization that provides a lot of support to students who attend the school where I taught.  They do a big school supply drive every year, and I knew I could help gather what they need. (More info on Hoplink's drive here.)

So, each week I am perusing the weekly ads to determine where the best deals are for school supplies that week.  Then I go shopping.  I've done this the past two weeks, and have an amazing number of supplies for what little money I have spent.  My goal is to take my personal spending money for July and August ($100 total) and buy as many supplies as I can.

And that's where, perhaps, you come in.  I know I can amass a sizable donation on my own, but I also know that if I can get more people to help me, we can make a real difference.  I'd love to get a group of people together who are willing to donate school supplies.  To help us get the most of our money,  every Sunday, I will post the best deals you can get for your school supply dollar that week.  If you want to help, use that list to guide your shopping.  Hopelink needs to have all school supply donations in by August 12th.  If you live in the Seattle area,  and can get your donation to me by August 10th, I'm happy to take them down for you.

What if you want to help, but don't live in the Seattle area?  I am certain there are similar organizations near you gathering school supplies.  If you need help finding one, let me know.

Perhaps you can't help, but know someone who might be interested?  Please forward them a link to this post.  That way they can track the sales, and find out how to help.

Thank you for considering this.  I believe that we can help a lot of kids, and families, this year.

God bless.

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