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United Way Blog

Help Children Succeed in School:  Plan a Back to School Supply Drive

school suppliesHaving school supplies they need to achieve helps keep kids focused and learning at school.  With school starting up again soon, August is a great time to organize a school supply drive among family, friends or an even larger community of people who know how important it is to help at-risk youth get the school supplies they need to succeed in the new school year.

United Way of Cullman County held its first school supply drive on the National Day of Action, held annually on June 21.  “It was not that difficult to put together” said Jacqueline B. Schendel, Marketing Communications Director.  “We did not get sponsors for this event, but may in the future.  It did not cost us any money.  We had free advertising with our local paper, radio station and TV stations.  We promoted it for several weeks and requested people drop off supplies at our office.  We stood in front of Walmart one day and collected over 90 percent of the supplies.  It was a great way for us to give back to the community.”
School supply drives are flexible and can be tailored to your community.  Here are the three basic steps to organizing a school supply drive:

  1. Begin with the end in mind.  Ask schools or youth-serving organizations agencies that will receive the supplies what they need, when they need it, and how it should be packaged so that the supplies can be stored and distributed easily.  While you are at it, ask how they would like to be involved!
  2. Recruit partners.  Identify and recruit partners to serve as collection sites, supply sorters, transportation providers, etc.
  3. Execute:
  • Collect supplies. Make it easy to be involved. Provide the sites with what they need to promote the supply drive within their organization and collect the supplies
  • Sort supplies.  Many hands make light work.  Hold a “sort-a-thon” and make it fun.
  • Deliver supplies to schools or agencies who will provide them to children in need.

View United Way Worldwide's School Supply Drive Volunteer Project Idea to learn more about planning a drive and how to make an impact on education.

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