Back to School Shopping: Donate First & Make Room for More
August 17, 2019
Back to school shopping is an important time to prepare your child by stocking up on the resources they need for optimal learning. They typically include clothes, accessories, notebooks, stationary supplies, snacks and backpacks, among other things.
But at the same time that your priorities include taking care of your own child, you can also consider students without the means to get what they need. It doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition – just by donating clothes to charity you can share the wealth by providing for others.
Back to School Savings and Deals
Of course, you’re responsible for your own budget, and the more you save, the more you can share with those less fortunate. Being diligent enough to find the best deals can meet those goals.
How are Americans finding those cost-saving school supplies this year?
Despite our huge dependence on purchasing online, most back-to-school shoppers are buying in stores this year, says industry publication Retail Dive.
While nearly half of back-to-school shopping involves price comparisons on smartphones and tablets, research shows that only 36 percent of shoppers said they’re buying products on their devices. Many mothers in the U.S. will use Amazon’s and Walmart’s websites, but there’s a shift toward parents and kids physically heading into the stores. Also, economic indicators say that each household is expected to spend more this year.
Some of the most popular go-tos for great back-to-school savings are Office Depot and Target. Stores with office products sometimes offer as much as 80% off the suggested retail prices. And these retail shops are often where teenage students go after their first day of school to fulfill teachers’ supply lists for such items as scantrons, blue books and college-ruled notebooks.
Moms turn to Target for a broad range of needs, from calculators to highlighters, considering it’s a modern-day general store. It’s a less expensive choice for back-to-school clothing shopping than department stores, for instance.
Bargain hunters have a resource in the Krazy Coupon Lady, an online avenue for deals from numerous retail sources.
The stores that Krazy Coupon Lady (KCL) carries deals for include:
• Best Buy
• Dollar Tree
• CVS Pharmacy
• Home Depot
• Whole Foods
• Yankee Candle
So, as you can see, your back-to-school savings through KCL isn’t limited to backpacks, notebooks and lunchboxes.
Donate to Make Room for More
Instead of stuffing your closet with more merchandise, first clean the closet to free up space for this year’s back-to-school shopping finds. If you’re a Marie Kondo fan (“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”) then you know how to streamline your belongings.
Once you’ve accumulated all the outfits from last year’s wardrobe (or last decade’s favorites) you need to choose who will receive the goods.
Often our first instinct is to make back-to-school donations through companies like Goodwill, however these organizations re-sell donated items – they don’t give them away to the less fortunate. They do good work, but there are other options that meet more specific needs.
Nearly every community has local nonprofits that collect clothing and other goods for needy families. Do you have a heart for victims of domestic violence? Or children in foster homes?
Consider donating what you bought during last year’s back-to-school shopping trip to benefit family shelters and foster homes. These are faithful nonprofit resources where supplies, clothes and home goods are given to individuals who lack resources.
Check with your local library to see if your books from last year can go to good use. Textbooks – offered free or at a discount – will help a starving student, and your other books can go to a fan of reading for a low price.
Libraries hold regular book sales, so it’s a good time to clean off your bookshelves or volunteer your time to help with the book sale or offer your services to a homework tutoring program. Nonprofit library foundations accept financial donations also.
Arlington Food Assistance Center is a good example of a community charity seeking to provide supplemental nutrition to the hungry. They distribute groceries free of charge to residents of the Arlington, Virginia area.
Your place of worship may also have a food or clothing distribution program.
How to Donate School Supplies
Aside from just donating money to worthy causes, there are many charities that accept school supplies. Some of the most common merchandise requested for school kids in need are:
• Backpacks filled with notepads, pencils, and snacks
• Art supplies
School on Wheels
For nearly three decades, nonprofit School on Wheels has been making sure homeless kids get the supplies they need to maximize their learning potential. It was founded by a retired teacher who saw the challenges homeless families face in getting a proper education for their children.
Residents of Southern California who have wondered how to donate school supplies have found a number of options through School on Wheels.
Like most charities, you can support the organization through cash donations. Donating in person is available by dropping off a check or other form of payment to their office in Downtown L.A. or the one in the city of Ventura.
The organization has a Student Wish List so you can make purchases and drop them off as well. Typical items include backpacks, notebooks and pencils.
You may choose to donate to School on Wheels online through Roonga. You can look over their list of needed items and shop for them there. They’ll be sent directly to the charity, which will distribute them to the kids.
You can also donate supplies through retailers including Amazon, Target, Smile, iGive.com or eScrip. Some of the money will be directed to the nonprofit when you shop online.
If you don’t have extra time for shopping, donate money for school supplies and the nonprofit can make the purchases they need. Through School on Wheels, a $50 donation buys a new backpack for a student who needs one and $100 donations will purchase a backpack and school supplies for the whole year.
With the tagline “Give back! Give a pack!” the Volunteers of America mobilize forces for Operation Backpack each year. Their efforts to help kids in need succeed are successful with the aid of people donating resources to the cause.
They provide the backpacks to students from pre-kindergarten age to pre-college. The charity reaches cities across the country, including:
• Mobile, Alabama
• California (Bay Area and Sacramento)
• New York City
• Reno/Sparks in Nevada
• Washington, D.C.
You can also donate or collect school supplies for Develop Africa, which is a 501(c)(3) benefiting kids in schools on the continent of Africa. Many schools in Africa lack adequate supplies, so additional resources are always appreciated.
By contributing in this way, you help improve the quality of their education and inspire the next generation to succeed. The office supplies you donate are tools that work directly to benefit the lives of the kids.
Studies by Michaelowa and Wechtler show that even one textbook per student raises literacy scores by 5-20 percent. The greater their education, the easier African kids can raise themselves out of poverty – and you can play a part in that important process.
It’s a well-known, trusted nonprofit organization, but did you know that the United Way collects school supplies this time of year?
The organization is fighting to give needy kids a better chance at a quality education. Though many of us don’t think of the United Way when we think of how to donate school supplies, the truth is, they accept either the supplies themselves or you can donate money to benefit the kids.
Items they need in the fall include pencil boxes, highlighters, glue sticks, colored pencils, erasers, backpacks and markers. But you can contact your local United Way office to get more specifics before doing your back-to-school shopping.
When a child’s parent is struggling to make ends meet, or battling an addiction, it’s a big hit against them in the present. But you can affect their future by investing in a child’s ability to learn.
That’s what the Salvation Army can do with the help of donations. Not only do their stores re-sell clothing, they also collect back to school donations to make sure kids are prepared for class.
Many children across the United States are in families with unstable financial situations, and the stress makes it hard for them to concentrate and come to school ready to learn. But by bridging the economic gap by finding charities that accept school supplies, it’s an additional means by which these kids can get a fighting chance to succeed.
Fall can be an exciting time for students and their parents – picking out a favorite lunch box and decorating notebooks. But for those families that lack resources, it can be a sad turn of events instead. By donating clothes to charity and shopping for others, your back to school shopping can work in tandem with a generous gift to offer children the gift of learning.