Do a Good Deed! How to Donate School Supplies to Kids in Need

school suppliesEducation is critical to improving the lives of children living in poverty, but with the high cost of school supplies, poverty itself can be a huge obstacle to kids' school success. This is especially true in low-income areas, where teachers often resort to using a significant portion of their own salaries to buy materials for their students. The good news is, you can help to ease the strain of back-to-school costs for families and teachers alike.

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The following organizations make it easy to donate supplies (and in some cases, cash) to schools and children in need. (And if you're looking for causes closer to home, try calling your local board of education to find out about drives in your area.)

1. Kids in Need Foundation

In 2015, Kids in Need Foundation directly supported 4.8 million kids with new school supplies. It accepts "new and K-12 appropriate" items which must meet Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) guidelines. (Gently used items are "accepted on a case-by-case basis" and donors must pay for delivery.) For more info on what they're looking for, contact the foundation.

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2. Operation Backpack

New York City's largest back-to-school drive, Operation Backpack gave over 19,400 homeless kids brand-new, supply-filled backpacks in 2015. Visit its website to download grade-specific lists of supplies to donate (you can even organize a drive of your own!). 

3. Planting Pencils

Created to support underfunded schools in both low-income areas in the US and underdeveloped countries, Planting Pencils accepts donations of school supplies and "gently used" computer equipment (as well as cash). To find out more about how you can participate, see its donations page.

4. DonorsChoose.org

Founded by a Bronx public high school history teacher, DonorsChoose.org is a website where teachers from all over the country post about classroom projects in need of funding; donors choose which ones they'd like to support. Start browsing the specific items teachers and kids need most!

More from CafeMom: 10 Savvy Back-to-School Shopping Survival Tips

5. Adopt a Classroom

Nearly two-thirds of all classroom supplies are bought by teachers using their own money. AdoptAClassroom.org connects teachers directly with the funds they need for materials immediately -- and you can help by donating to its annual fund.

Together, we can all make the back-to-school season a whole lot better!

 

Image via The Wizard/Flickr

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