School Supplies


The day before the day before school starts. Eli starts First Grade tomorrow and he declared that Stephen would walk him in, but only that first day.

This past week I bought what felt like mountains of school supplies. First, I bought some for Eli. And then I made a second trip to buy for a local elementary school where 95% of the children get free or reduced price lunch. 475 kids out of the 500 that attend there don’t have the means to buy paper and pencils to take to school to learn.

I have been over and over this in my head this week in relation to Eli. How would I feel if I couldn’t buy him the things he needed to comfortably get an education? What would it mean to me to not be able to afford shoes for him to run and play in? How devastated and ashamed would I be to not have the money for my son to eat lunch while he was at school? And how that daily grind would eventually make me not care very much if he received a good education while he was there.

I’ve loved school supply season since before I started attending school. I love office supplies and have since I was about three — at least that’s my earliest memory of loving paper.

Paper takes me to my happy place. For me, it is the basis of creativity. Starting with a blank page and making something beautiful. Or making something not beautiful. It doesn’t matter because the process of putting pencil or brush or scissors to paper is the magical part.

Now think of the 475 kids that don’t have the means to do that. And in some cases have never even had the experience of a beautiful white blank piece of paper and a brand new pencil.

Every time I’ve thought of it this week, I’ve nearly cried.

So before you go out to buy school supplies this fall, find out where you can drop off a few items for a school in your area that needs help. Or ask your child’s teacher if there is a boy or girl in the class that needs a few things to help him/her get started. A package of paper or a few pencils don’t seem like much, but to one child you just might be opening a magical door.

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2 Comments

  1. Joyous
    on August 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I was a free lunch kid myself, but my mom always valued my education, and never let me feel ashamed of being poor. But the school provided us with pencils, paper, crayons, and safety scissors, so that at least wasn’t a problem. That said, I was a low income kid going to school in a generally high income district. Actually, I’m not sure I really knew we were poor–since I was different from the other kids in so many other ways, this just sort of blended into them all!

  2. on August 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I think that’s where you gotta try to level the field, too—when they’re young.