Over the month of August a series of remarkable events are taking place at Schoolhouse Supplies. With the help of 28 generous business sponsors, the Schoolhouse Supplies Tools for Schools backpack giveaway program is packing 14,233 backpacks to give to students this fall. The Tools for Schools program partners local businesses with high-need schools, where over 65% of students live at or below the poverty line. Every single kid in those schools will receive a backpack, regardless of income level, so that every child starts on a level playing field. Tools for Schools mobilizes over 550 company volunteers to help pack by hand this tremendous gift to the community.
It’s a grand sight, as each company’s excited volunteers arrive at our packing tables, laden with pencil pouches, crayons, scissors, notebooks, erasers and a wondrous array of school necessities.
Volunteers, in groups of 15 or 20, help set the tables for each rapid fire packing session. After the tables are piled high with orderly stacks of supplies the fun starts: Volunteers take their places along the sides of the long tables. At the word go the first volunteer grabs a pencil pouch and stuffs it in with pencils, then erasers, and on down the line it goes. Each person adds in from the pile in front of them; glue sticks, packs of crayons, etc and at the end the backpack is full of supplies and stacked into a multicolored mountain awaiting delivery to the schools.
There’s a jovial air as the teams vie to beat their seconds per pack score from last year, as that colorful pile grows and grows. They also know that each backpack they touch represents a very happy kid on other end. After a busy couple of hours, the bags are loaded into volunteers cars and driven right to the school, where a grateful staff member will house them until school year starts.
But that’s not all: Come September, in the first weeks of school, each company will return to the that school that they’ve sponsored and distribute the backpacks personally to the grateful children who beam with delight over such an amazing sight. That’s 14,233 smiles that these generous companies have helped foster. That’s a job well done.