Back-to-school shopping is the second-largest retail event in the U.S. However, as the cost of school supplies increases and education funding decreases, parents and teachers are left to find creative ways to provide students with the supplies and positive learning environments they need to thrive.
A new school year may have already started in your community or it's likely just around the corner. Here are seven ways you can give kids – and teachers – a solid start to the school year:
- Adopt a classroom. Gather neighbors, colleagues or family members to adopt a classroom. Contact your local school district to find a classroom in your neighborhood or go to AdoptAClassroom.org to give where it's needed most. This can be done any time of year!
- Seeking essentials. Call a local school or district to find out which school items are in short supply and organize and promote a school supply drive. Recruit work, church and book club buddies to purchase the basics.
- Roll out the welcome mat. Set up a table during back-to-school night for new students and parents, staffed by seasoned parents who are prepared to answer questions. Everyone will feel more comfortable knowing where things are and what to expect during the school year.
- 'G' is for grateful. Make supply baskets for teachers to let them know they're appreciated. Fill the baskets with dry erase markers, magnets, pens, tissues and construction or notebook paper. Write notes of appreciation and encouragement and attach them to the baskets.
- Fill the teacher's lounge. The first few weeks of school can be extra busy and tiring for teachers. Create a sign-up sheet for parents to bring snacks and beverages for teachers and staff each day. A little extra sustenance might be all it takes to help everyone get into the swing of things.
- Get bookin'. Host a book drive to collect gently used books for the classroom. Provide goodies for everyone who donates.
- Build awareness. Strike up conversations with friends, neighbors or colleagues, or share this article to call attention to the needs of families and teachers. Awareness leads to action.
Give in a way that makes sense for you
Lead a Thrivent Action Team. Thrivent members can apply to lead a Thrivent Action Team to support families and teachers. Use one of the suggested ideas above or see our list of Thrivent Action Team ideas for the classroom (PDF).
Give charitably. The Kids In Need Foundation provides free school supplies to the students who need them. Make a personal donation to the Foundation through our partnership with InFaith Foundation. Thrivent covers all processing so 100% of your donation goes directly to the organization. Eligible Thrivent members can also direct Choice Dollars® to support Kids in Need.
Not a member yet? Learn more about why Thrivent is different.