How Back to School Giving Makes a Difference

back to school supplies

The back to school supplies pile up for a 5th grader.
(Photo by Morgan)

The start of a new school year is around the corner. As students gear up to head back to school, the thing that is on a lot of minds is gathering up school supplies for the new year. For some families, this may prove to be difficult.

It is estimated that parents will spend an average of $100 per child on school supplies this year. This does not include the cost of new clothing. Consider that average with the growing number of children participating in free or reduced lunch programs, unemployment rates, and budget cuts. Back-to-school shopping for school supplies can be a real struggle for many families.

Perhaps the focus of the start of school needs to shift to back to school giving.

Give for Back to School: Box Tops

A long-standing effort to provide assistance to schools is box top programs. Box Tops for Education give $0.10 (ten cents) per each box top. Over 80,000 schools participate in the program. This is an easy way to give back to your children’s school. All you have to do is cut the box top from the packaging of participating products, and turn them into the school.

The money earned from the Box Top for Education program is sent out to schools twice a year, which the schools can spend on anything needed. The website,, will allow you to track your school’s box top earnings, and even compare local schools. There are over 100 products that participate in the program, everything from cereal, snacks, juice, and paper products, to produce and frozen goods.

Give for Back to School: Donate Locally

Another way to help the community is to donate school supplies locally. Ask how you can help while attending school orientations or meet-the-teacher events. There may be suggested items on the list of school supplies that will be useful to the class as a whole. Publix Super Markets are sponsoring a school supply drive with their Tools for Back to School Program. Shoppers can buy tickets for $5, $7, or $10. As a bonus incentive for donating to the program, customers will receive a special reusable grocery bag.

Give for Back to School: Volunteer Your Time

Volunteers at work

Volunteers at work
(Photo by Daniel Thornton)

Are you interested in giving more than items placed into a donation box? Try a local volunteer program. A great number of schools, churches, and retail stores sponsor drives for school supplies. Becoming a charity volunteer is a great way to stay connected to your community.

Volunteer work can also provide a great family experience if you all are volunteering together. College students wanting to help their communities should become connected to organizations on campus. Student-run organizations may participate in local charity events.

Students can also look to administrative departments. Check with the recycling or sustainability offices to find out how you can help. Many campuses are now building programs to collect new and gently used items from graduates as they move out and donate the collections to a variety of charities. If you feel motivated to create your own supply drive,, provides a guide and tips to planning and coordinating an event of your own.

Some people donate to charity with funds, and others with time. Every effort helps when it comes to community service. This back to school season, and at the end of Happiness Happens Month for August, find ways to be a giver in your community; help happiness happen for a child this back-to-school season.

How do you help give back to schools?
Share your ideas in a comment below!

About Kimberly Knowles

Kimberly Knowles has a BS in Communication and post graduate education in event management, editing, and publishing. She enjoys writing, reading, and scrapbooking, believing that preserving photos and mementos is a great way to share memories. She currently resides in Tallahassee, Florida.

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