The end of summer is here, sad to say. The temperatures are starting to cool a little bit (perhaps a relief to some), and children are getting excited about going back to school.
As you prepare to send your children back to school, you might be thinking about all the new clutter that will be added to your home with new notebooks, craft supplies, and clothes. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to take stock of what your children have, and determine which items they need and what can be donated.
For many other children in the Boston area, going back to school means possibly being embarrassed by ragged clothes, not having a lunch, or not having the right school supplies. As you evaluate your children’s clothing and shop for new school supplies, consider making a donation of used clothes or new school supplies to children who need them.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of non-profits in the Boston area who are running back to school drives in the coming weeks.
Operation Backpack is a back to school drive organized by Volunteers of America Massachusetts. Their goal is to equip children in impoverished families with the tools they need to get through the school year successfully.
There is no age limit for the school supplies. Operation Backpack seeks to help children from Kindergarten to 12th grade with their back to school needs.
The items on Operation Backpack’s list should be new, so pick up a few extra markers and binders when you’re out shopping for your kids. You can find Operation Backpack lists here divided into grade levels. To teach your children about giving back, print out the list that corresponds with their grade levels and let them help pick the items while you’re at the store.
All donations should be dropped off by August 23rd.
School on Wheels Massachusetts
School on Wheels Massachusetts is a non-profit dedicated to providing academic support to children impacted by homelessness in the state. The Department of Education estimates that 1 in 60 children in the Massachusetts public school system are homeless.
School on Wheels has a few programs to help homeless children throughout the academic year including tutoring in math and reading, mentoring for high school students, and back to school donation drives.
Last year, School on Wheels donated 2,400 fully stocked backpacks to children in need and they’re looking to outdo themselves this year. You can find their requested list of new school supplies here. If you’re one to order your kids’ school supplies online, you can also purchase items off School on Wheels’ Amazon Wish List.
Catie’s Closet is on a mission to provide low-income children with clothing and hygiene products right when they need them, i.e. right in their schools. As Catie’s Closet puts it, they fill a gap where family support and social services end. By providing the items kids need discreetly in school, the organization aims to reduce absenteeism and increase the likelihood children will complete school.
Catie’s Closet has a constant need for items all year round, making them a great place to donate to if you do regular closet clean-outs. They accept new or gently used clothing for all school-aged children plus new toiletries and hygienic products. You can find their full list here.
Cradles to Crayons
As its name implies, Cradles to Crayons focuses on children in low-income or impoverished areas up to age 12 by providing them with the items they need to thrive at home, at school, and at play. The organization primarily collects items through grassroots fundraisers, and organizes and distributes them through their main warehouse.
Cradles to Crayons accepts a wide range of new or nearly new items including clothing, diapers, toiletries, shoes, toys, craft supplies, and books. You can find the full list of accepted items here.
Of course, the Salvation Army and Goodwill are always in need of donated items year-round, and they accept a wider range of items in various conditions. Another tip for finding back-to-school drives is looking out for campaigns in your local grocery stores, big box retailers, and churches.
Take advantage of these back to school donation drives by clearing out your children’s gently used items and declutter your home.