If you have been to Walmart lately, you likely have noticed the school supplies prominently displayed. Part of me cringes seeing this. They popped up not even a week after July 4th. I’m trying to enjoy and make the most of the second half of summer with my kids, but seeing backpacks, folders and #2 pencils feels like a deadline is looming.
If we can’t just ignore big stores’ foreboding displays, how can we use their early bird to catch a worm? One idea is to tap into current community school supplies drives that are underway. Many families struggle to provide all the necessary supplies for children to start their school year off right. Luckily for the Bartlesville area, we have quite a few organizations willing to help out. Right now is a great time to pick up and donate needed items for local groups to have time to organize before supply pick up.
Washington County School Supplies Drive organizes Pack the Backpacks each year serving children in Bartlesville, Dewey, Copan, Caney Valley, Osage Hills, Bowring and at Headstart. Last year, Pack the Backpacks provided more than 2,400 children the school supplies needed to start school in the fall. Key program details include:
- This program accepts monetary donations or supply donations, which can be dropped off at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Arvest Bank lobbies and several other local locations.
- Volunteers are needed to help pack the backpacks on August 6th-7th and distribute the backpacks on August 8th-9th.
- Families are invited to apply for assistance between July 5th -30th at Mary Martha Outreach, CONCERN and Agape Mission, where all information is verified.
- More information is available at PacktheBackpacks.org
Targeting teachers’ needs this year, Truity Credit Union and Siemens are teaming up to host a classroom supplies drive benefiting Bartlesville Public Schools. Supplies will be given to more than 400 teachers at the BPSD Back to School Rally. You can drop off items at any Truity Credit Union branch now through August 8th. An Amazon wish list has been created for this project or you can pick up some of the most pressing items including:
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfecting wipes
- Staples and paper clips
- Packs of pencils and pens
- Dry erase markers
- Dry erase spray and board erasers
Ray of Hope Advocacy Center also keeps a small ongoing stock of donated school supplies for children taken into foster care. Often these children are quite literally taken out of an unsafe home with nothing more than the clothes on the backs. This includes backpacks or any school supplies at the home. With so much unrest in their lives, these children do not need to worry about notebooks and crayons.
So if seeing the spiral bound notebooks and college ruled paper throws you into panic, try to relax, pick up a few items and drop them off for children and teachers who need them. Feel good knowing you channeled your end of summer fear to help ease their fall desperation.