Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to School Ideas for Sharing

Back to school... It can be a happy time, stressful time, and overall financial drain in today's economy. While the news fills our living rooms with pictures of hunger and poverty abroad, it is true that it is happening in our own backyards as well. Here are a few ideas on how to share with those in your community that may be in need.

  • If your budget allows, when you find glue, crayons, rulers, or other school supplies that are less than a dollar or buy one and get one free, do it. Put the least expensive items in a box and donate specifically to your child's teacher for those in the class who may be in need. Many in the community may be embarrassed to state their need but the classroom teacher will be the first to know when a student has no supplies.
  • Donate your child's gently used or outgrown clothing to a church thrift shop or shelter where it can be distributed to families in need. More and more families are unemployed and money is tight. These same parents still want to dress their children in clean and proper fitting clothing with some style. Maybe you could start a program in your area if there is not one available.
  • Hold a coat drive at your church or school. With winter approaching, families may be in need of proper attire for their kids to ward off the winter cold. Again, parents are embarrassed and afraid or ashamed to ask for what they may need so be creative in getting your message out.
  • Snack moms always seem to run out of good healthy ideas for kids snacks. Try bringing in a bag of oranges, apples, or plums for snacking. It is sad but true that some kids are unfamiliar with having fresh fruits available on a regular basis because of the expense.
  • Share your time. Volunteer to tutor students, teach them a craft, or work with reading groups. Most teachers, librarians, or pastors can help guide you to those who need your time.
  • Bring in one or two items to your local food pantry. Make that a regular part of your contribution to your community. These are great times for some but there are many many others who are struggling and rely on the food pantries for their meals.
  • Offer to share babysitting, carpooling, or other parenting tasks for those parents who are struggling with after school child care. Childcare may be expensive in many areas forcing parents to leave children home alone. If your child has a friend that is home alone after school, maybe you can offer free after school care and friendship once a week helping with homework, a meal, or other need.
Working together in your community is a gratifying experience. Schools, churches, and food pantries or shelters are always looking for volunteers. If you don't have extra money to donate, use your talents in other ways to help someone who may be struggling. You will be showing your children a great example of caring with your contibutions and you never know who you may bless in the process.

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