For three years I participated in a book bag giveaway to the children in Upper Darby until a change in job duties did not allow me to give as much time to the program. I’ve always enjoyed school supply shopping: fresh boxes of crayons, the smell of wooden pencils, and crisp notebooks signals that summer is over and school is about to begin. Watching the back to school mailers and commercials play, I decided that while I’m picking through the $.25 crayons, $.10 folders and other items, why not ask my school teacher friends what supplies they needed. For a few dollars more, I can definitely help a few children in need.
Fellow blogger Jessica at Eat. Sleep. Be. has some suggestions to help make back to school time less stressful for parents (the idea that your baby towers over you and had bass in his voice is for you to work with. Unless that’s just me coping with this.) while also assisting those in need. Check out Jessica’s suggestions and visit her blog for ideas on being a mindful consumer. Plus you with some ideas of your own.
For 15 years, the Office Depot Foundation has had the same idea, providing children with the tools they need to succeed in school at the beginning of the year.
This year is no exception. 200,000 colorful new sackpacks will be provided to nonprofit organizations and agencies across the United States and internationally. By the end of the year, over 3.7 million backpacks and sackpacks will have been distributed to children in need since the program begin in 2001.
“For most children, the first day of school is an exciting time complete with new clothes and back-to-school gear,” says Office Depot Foundation President Mary Wong. “But for kids in families where money is tight, the experience can be just the opposite. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to go to school with dignity and hope. The sackpacks and school supplies we donate help to level the playing field and give these wonderful children a reason to stand just a little bit taller.”
To distribute sackpacks directly to children, the Foundation is hosting Back-to-School Celebrations in some 20 cities across the U.S. in July and August. This week, 18,000+ new sackpacks are being donated through events in Atlanta, San Francisco, New Orleans and Indianapolis. In New Orleans alone, the Office Depot Foundation has donated more than 50,000 backpacks and sackpacks to children in the decade since Hurricane Katrina.
Thousands more sackpacks are being given to kids through the Office Depot Foundation’s continuing partnerships with nine nonprofit organizations serving children nationally and globally. The Foundation is collaborating with the AARP Experience Corps, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Feed the Children, Food For The Poor, the Kids In Need Foundation, the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Operation Homefront and Samaritan’s Feet International. For the seventh consecutive year, children of the Navajo Nation in Arizona will receive sackpacks.
The specially designed, drawstring-style sackpacks come in seven bright and colorful designs that are new for 2015. Each one includes a zippered pouch containing a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, six-inch ruler and four crayons. The sackpacks do not have any Office Depot Foundation or Office Depot logos or markings.
More information about the National Backpack Program can be found on the Foundation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officedepotfoundation. To learn more about the Office Depot Foundation and its initiatives, go to www.officedepotfoundation.org/. You can follow the Foundation on Twitter @OfficeDepotFndn; the National Backpack Program’s hashtag is #ODFcares. The Foundation is also on Instagram: @officedepotfoundation.
About the Office Depot Foundation
The Office Depot Foundation is an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3) − that serves as the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot, Inc. In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations through collaboration and innovation; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recovering and rebuilding afterwards. For more information, visit www.officedepotfoundation.org.