For this post, I just want to give a little shameless promotion to my daughter's fundraising efforts on behalf of her 4th grade classroom.
I thought it was pretty neat that there is a fundraising site on the web for teachers to put in requests for items they need to provide a better education for their students. Our schools across the country are underfunded and understaffed. My daughter has been teaching for 8 years now and she and her fellow teachers spend hundreds of unreimbursed dollars out of their own pocket for classroom items every year.
DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Teachers ask. You choose. Oprah featured this organization last year...here's a short video on the concept of the Donors Choose organization:
Speaking of my daughter's project, if she could just reach 1500 people and each one of those people donated a dollar, she could purchase 6 iPads to use in her classroom (because every one of those dollar donations would be matched if the donor uses the code INSPIRE when they donate through February 5th.)
It was interesting looking at some of the other requests for funding on the site...there's a teacher looking to buy enough copies of a novel for his class...it's a brilliant way for a teacher to obtain needed items when they're constrained by underfunded school budgets.
If you're looking for ways to help your local educators, ask a teacher. As a quilter, you've got a cashless resource that would be greatly appreciated. Art teachers would love to have your fabric scraps, yarn scraps and buttons and thread (and any craft supplies you no longer use). The arts are the first programs cut by every school system when funding is tight.
Another non-cash idea....instead of sending those ink cartridges from your office back to HP in their prepaid labeled box (for which you get nothing in return), sign up for a Staples Rewards acccount and drop them off at Staples. You can turn in 10-20 per month and Staples will give you $2 in store credit for each cartridge you recycle. Those credit vouchers are good for 2 months after issuing, so save up a couple and hand them to a teacher to purchase classroom supplies.
Every Fall I put together a box full of school supplies for each student in my daughter's class and donate it, as our County school system no longer allows teachers to send home a 'required' supply list each school year because so many parents just don't have the means to provide these items for multiple children. It's fun...I hit the 1 cent sales at the office supply stores through the summer, and the various sales at Walmart and Target right before school starts. I've found that I can outfit a class of 24 with pencils, gluesticks, rulers, crayons, spiral notebooks, scissors, notebook paper, folders, and red pens for less than $50 with some saavy shopping (and a bit of running around).
Now, it's been a very cold winter here and when the Polar Vortex first moved in, it became evident early on that many of the students at my daughter's school had no coats (they were coming to school in hoodies when the temperature outside was 14 degrees), one of the teachers took home the lost and found box, washed everything in it and stood at the door the next morning handing warm winter items to children without them as they arrived. When I heard this, the lightbulb went on.
I've been in KMart at the end of winter, and they are virtually giving away kids coats for $5 and $10 each. I figured that my daughter has enough of my school supplies stockpiled in her classroom closet to get through the next year or so, so this year I'm going to scoop up some of those sale rack coats for the kids next winter.
And I could even pick up fleece from JoAnn when it's on clearance (with a coupon, of course), and make no-sew scarves.
Anyway, I'll step off my soapbox now. Heartfelt thanks for considering making a donation of some type to schools, be it to my daughter's or the one up the street from you. Not just me, but teachers (and their students) everywhere thank you.
Tomorrow I'll be back with lots to show of the projects I'm working on (the top of the scrappy quilt is finished....yay!)
Stay warm, and stay safe...and you Southerners who never see ice or snow...STAY OFF THE ROAD! :)