Proverbs 11:25 – A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Gratitude Day 769
“This is one of the most fun days of the summer,” our 10-year-old grandson said.
We were in the car, along with his older brother and sister. It was amazing quiet when he spoke. Each kid was sorting through the shopping bags we had just carried out of the store. They had their new backpacks in front of them. Even the boys were going through their new school supplies, organizing them and packing them all into their backpacks so they would be ready on their first day of school.
Yes, that first day of school is a few weeks away yet. But the kids had asked a couple weeks ago when we would go school shopping. It’s an annual tradition. Each kid gets a new pair of shoes, a backpack and the items on their required school supply list as posted by their local school district. As soon as we get back to the car, the kids love to organize their backpacks, fill their pencil bags and get everything put together.
Mind you, this 10-year-old grandson would not say that school is his favorite thing. “It’s boring,” is a common theme that I hear from him when asked how a school day went. But school shopping? Well, obviously, that is a whole different story.
Hubby Rick met us at the end of school shopping. (No, he did not participate. He said that he would rather have a colonoscopy than go school shopping!) We went to a park near the lake, had a picnic and went hiking. The kids wanted to jump off a rock and into the water which is popular in this park. We had just enough time for them to jump in twice. As the self-designated safety patrol, I asked the two mid-20’s guys who had also jumped in if they would stay in the water while our kids jumped in. They humored me. One guy said he understood my concern. “My Mom would have been just like you, making sure it was safe,” he said. “You have a good Mom,” he told our grandkids. None of our kids corrected them. (This is not the first time they have heard this reference.)
Later, Hubby Rick assured me not to be concerned about how much the school supplies cost. “It’s worth it,” he said, referencing to the 10-year-old grandson declaring this day as one of his favorite days of the summer. “This is what we can do.”
We also had the conversation about the families who may not be able to afford school supplies. Prices have gone up. There are not fantastic sales. And school shopping is expensive.
Today, I offer a few simple and easy ways that you can support families right in your local community as they prepare for the beginning of the school year. Honestly, the amount of what you do is not as important as doing something. Every year there are unmet needs in local school districts. If we all did just a little bit, it would make a huge difference. Here are some ideas of how you can help those in need.
- Pick up some school supplies and give them away. Even if you just buy a half-a-dozen pocket folders and a few boxes of crayons and pencils, it WILL make a difference. Seriously. If you know a family that might need help, drop them off. Not sure who to give them to? Many communities will have a local organization that collects school supplies in their local area. In our community, it is the local police department. Still not sure who that is in your community? Simply take the items to the school district and drop them off at the front desk. They will find a home.
- Donate to the school milk fund. Many schools have a fund that allows all kids to have milk during the school day, whether the kids have money or not. Contact the school and inquire how you can donate to this. They will LOVE you.
- Donate individually wrapped snack items. Certain classrooms are often looking for easy kid snacks. Through our weekend food program, our local school often asks if we have extra snack items that we can give the school. And we do. Put together a bag of these items and drop them off at your local elementary school. Donate things like individual applesauce cups, individual cups of microwavable mac and cheese, granola bars, packets of oatmeal, and individual bags of microwavable popcorn. The school counselors will be so appreciative.
- If you want to donate something for high school girls, consider feminine products. Yes, there is a need for them, as well as laundry soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and bar soap.
- Each fall, our weekend food program puts together little health kits. We include them with the weekend bags. We give the extras to the school district, and they hand them out when needed. In a quart Ziplock bag, we include a toothbrush and toothpaste, a washcloth, lip balm, comb and a bar of soap. This could be a fun project you could do with other people.
- Ask a schoolteacher how you can support them. Some teachers put together lists of supplies that they could use. This can be done through Amazon. Consider contributing to these lists and funds.
In talking with our grandkids, some of them are ready to go back to school this fall. The routine of school is beneficial for many kids. There can also be angst for some families as they try and figure out how to get the necessary things for their students.
Sometimes, people indicate that families would not have these problems if they made better choices. What I do know is this: every student should have what they need to attend school. I cannot control what choices parents make. I can control my choice to help those in need and provide opportunities for kids to succeed in school as much as possible.
We make the choice whether to help those who have needs. I hope we embrace opportunities to help students who live in our communities so they can have a great beginning of the school year. Amazingly, YOU may actually feel better about yourself. This is an amazing side benefit of helping others. I hope we can agree that going back to school this fall should be fun. Any little thing you do to help support families and the school district will allow the school year to begin well.
For the opportunity to help school students begin the year on the right path, I am very grateful.
Holy God – Thank you for school districts, teachers, administrators, cooks, bus drivers, volunteers, paraprofessionals, school boards and everyone else involved in a local school district. It has been a challenging few years for education. I pray this year can be less dramatic. Place on my heart how I can help students in need as school begins. May I embrace an opportunity you have put before me. Amen.
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