More than 90,000 children in the St. Louis metro area face the beginning of the school year without necessary supplies - basics like pencils and paper. And while sharing is a good thing, it doesn't work so well for school supplies.
KidSmart, a local non-profit, has been working since 2002 to collect supplies for needy kids, and one of its major giving campaigns, Push for Pencils, begins Aug. 1.
Through Push for Pencils,
KidSmart collected and distributed nearly 500,000 supplies and $70,000 last year for school children in need. This year the campaign runs August 1-31. Businesses throughout the St. Louis metro area act as drop-off points throughout the month, including Whole Foods,
Crown Vision and Commerce Bank locations. (To find a drop-off location near you, go to the locator page on the Push for Pencils web site
and enter your zip code.)
Organizations and individuals can also hold one-day events to help collect supplies. For example, American Family is sponsoring a "Stuff the Bus" event on Saturday, August 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Office Depot, 4045 Veterans Memorial Parkway in St. Peters, to collect supplies for Push for Pencils. Many similar events are scheduled throughout the month.
So, there are many ways to get involved, whether it's dropping off supplies, volunteering at a one-day event, hosting your own drive, or forming your own team to collect supplies throughout the month. The KidsSmart Push for Pencils web site gives you all the information you need to get as involved as you'd like. You can download a playbook for your event or a toolkit for your team, and participate in forum discussions with other team leaders. The team that collects the most supplies will win an ice cream party for up to 50 people. But the real winners will be kids who will face the new school year with a full backpack, ready to learn.
By Julia Bollman, publisher of SmartParenting