Back to school was always such an exciting time when I was a kid–getting a new backpack, new school supplies, and always a new pair of gym shoes that were so shiny and white on that first day back.
At the end of a school year, I was always excited for summer. I was ready to ditch the school day and homework routine for lazy, unscheduled days, running around barefoot with the other neighborhood kids until it was time to go in for dinner. But once it neared the end of summer, I was always excited to buy my new supplies for the next year and get back to school. I loved the day in August when I got to pick up the lists of who was in my class and what supplies I’d need for that next year–would this finally be the year that I’d be the big-shot that needed a TI-89 graphing calculator?. My mom would then take me and my siblings for a long Target trip to stock up on everything we would need. I started anticipating this trip in July.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself, since my daughter is not quite two yet, but I’m already eager to enjoy back-to-school season with her in this same way. I can’t wait for that first shopping trip before Kindergarten to get a backpack with her favorite character on it, a matching lunchbox, and a fresh new box of Crayolas–maybe even the box with the built-in sharpener. Even though I’m no longer a student, August always gives me the feeling of excitement for the chance to start another year fresh, and I can’t wait to enjoy it again.
A few weeks ago at my office, I noticed posters for the 2016 Back to School Rally, put on by Families Helping Families of Iowa, Inc. All employees in the building received an email about donation bins placed around the building, where we could drop off new school supplies such as backpacks, pencils, notebooks, pencil boxes, markers, calculators, USB drives, protractors, and crayons. The organization then donates around 300 new, fully-stocked backpacks for children in foster care at the Back to School Rally on August 7. Children also receive a $50 shoe voucher and a free haircut.
This reminded me that for many kids, back to school isn’t the fun new opportunity to start the next school year with a crisp and shiny backpack of supplies. It was that way for me, and hopefully will be for my daughter, but not everyone is so privileged and lucky. Learning about the rally provided a good occasion to give back and help spread that new-school-year-joy to as many kids as possible. I participated in my favorite pastime of a back-to-school shopping trip, but instead of loading up a cart for myself, I loaded up a cart for the rally.
In addition to the Back to School Rally, there are other local events that provide an opportunity to donate school supplies to children in the Corridor:
HACAP’s Back to School Drive:
HACAP is hosting a back-to-school drive. School house donation bins are out from July 25 through August 12 at various businesses in the Iowa City area. Donated items can be brought to the HACAP office at 367 Southgate Avenue in Iowa City as well.
Life Church’s Servolution:
Life Church is hosting Servolution, a back-to-school project designed to serve underprivileged families in our community. The project provides shoes, haircuts, groceries, and school supplies to families in the Corridor. They are collecting NEW tennis shoes for children, and hoping to collect 1000 pairs! To find out what sizes of shoes are needed, contact [email protected]. This event will be located at Kirkwood Elementary in Coralville on August 22 from 2-5 p.m., and Penn Elementary in North Liberty on August 19 from 3-6 p.m.
ICMB’s Pizza and Pencils Event:
We at the Iowa City Moms Blog will be hosting a Pizza and Pencils event at Wetherby Park on August 15 from 6-8 p.m. This event will offer a free slice of pizza and a drink, as well as free school supplies to attendees. To donate, pick up a few extra school supplies of any kind and drop them off at either Iowa Gym Nest location. (545 Olympic Ct. in Iowa City and 2550 Holiday Rd. in Coralville.) If you or your place of business would like to sponsor or contribute to this event, [email protected] for details.
We are so grateful to live in a community full of people whose generous hearts move them to action. If you head out to do some school shopping this weekend, consider adding a few extra items to your cart for those who are less fortunate. Thank you!