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School supply drive
Sara Victoria Bujold

Get Involved > School supply drive

How to do a school supply drive!

Goal: Help desperately poor children have access to education by providing school supplies

Who will benefit: Impoverished children living throughout Central America and the Caribbean

Who can do a school supply drive: Anyone who wants a hands-on activity to make a difference in the lives of poor children

Time required: One to three weeks (2-5 days for planning, 5-10+ days for execution)


Every day orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children all over the world suffer from a lack of basic necessities.  In Central America and the Caribbean one of the biggest barriers to education is not having school supplies.  Running a school supply drive for Bless the Children is a simple and fun way to make a big impact towards the heartbreaking lack of education in these countries.  The supplies you collect will be shipped in a 40-foot sea container along with school furniture and medical supplies.  Once they arrive at their destination they will be given to children living in families who can’t afford school supplies.  Your donation of school supplies will make a big difference in a child’s life.  Some children may even have the chance to go to school for the first time in their lives!

Step 1: Recognize your desire to make a difference in the lives of poor children.

Being passionate about the necessity of education for all children around the world is a must!  It will ensure that you genuinely enjoy this project. Your desire to begin this school supply drive will enhance the quality and effectiveness of your project.

Step 2A: Establish contact with Bless the Children

Contact Bless the Children (BTC) to ask any questions you may have before beginning your drive.  BTC is ready to offer guidance that will help you with your project.  Establishing this connection right away is extremely valuable.  BTC has a lot of experience with school supply drives and can help you get organized as well as put together a list of supplies most needed by children living in poverty.  You can call: 727-631-0088 or send an email to:
[email protected].

Step 2B: Receive photos from BTC

After BTC answers your questions and you’re ready to start your project, ask BTC for photos to help you promote your school supply drive.  You’ll be emailed photos of past projects and children living in desperate conditions.  This will help you make the issue you're working on more real to the people you ask for help.  Showing them the photos will help them understand the children’s needs. 

Step 3: Recruit your team

Getting help from others will help make your drive successful and more fun!  Recruit a team of people who are just as excited about this cause as you are.  Showing them the photos that you received from BTC will help get them on board.  You will be the team leader since this is your project.  The number of team members you’ll need will depend on the size of your project.  You’ll want at least a couple of people to help you spread the word about your project and to help you collect up the school supplies and get them boxed and shipped to BTC at the end of your project.  Work together to inspire others to help!

Step 4: Planning your project

Good planning will help make sure your school supply drive goes smoothly!  You’ll want to brainstorm ideas and think about which local businesses, churches, schools or other places could help.  You’ll want to decide where to promote your project.  An important thing to work out is how you’ll pick up supplies that are donated.  Creating a timeline and setting deadlines for you and your team will make it easy to just do the next step.  This is when you and your team will work out the details of your project and decide who is going to help with what and when.  The instructions on this page tell you everything you need to include in your planning.  Remember to be flexible!  Sometimes it’s necessary to do things a little different than you planned in order to be successful!

Step 5: Create a flier promoting your drive

Getting the word out about your project is important!  Create a flier that is easy to read and catches the eye of anybody who sees it. 

   Be sure to include:  

   - the name of your project
   - the purpose of your project
   - the organization that will receive the donated supplies - Bless the Children
   - a few photos of poor children with school supplies received from BTC
   - what is needed and how to help (list of school supplies/ask for donations)
   - the pick-up/drop-off date and specified location 
- be sure donors have enough time to collect supplies (1-2 weeks)
   - thank the individual for their help in advance
   - contact email address
   - Bless the Children's website address:

   - Do not include your telephone number or home address on the flier without permission from your parents.

Step 6: Distribute your flier to promote your project

Get together with your team and begin promoting your school supply drive everywhere using your new flier. 

Some helpful promotion ideas:

- Go around your neighborhood/surrounding neighborhoods and drop off a flier at each doorstep.  Remember that your safety is very important!  Always go when the sun is out and with a buddy.  If you are very young, please ask one of your parents to go with you.

- Ask your teacher to make an announcement to your class and give a flier to every student.

- Give a stack of fliers to each of your friends and ask them to hand them out to their friends and family.

- Ask local businesses to distribute your flier to their customers and promote your project to their employees.

- See if there are local churches, libraries or restaurants that will let you hang a flier on their bulletin board.

* Be sure to set up a time when you will pick up the school supplies from each of these places, and that you are there to pick them up right when you promised you would! *

Step 7: Pick up school supplies

After you've promoted your drive and your community has had time to collect the school supplies, it's time to pick up the supplies at the specified pick-up location(s) that you put on the flier.  Be sure to have your team members with you to ensure your safety.  You might have several pick-up locations so make sure you schedule it out so that you're able to pick up the supplies on the day you promised.  It's important to have an adult there with you!  If you have a drop-off place make sure the location is easily identifiable for your donors by making large signs with your drive name on them, the words “drop off”, etc. 

Step 8: Packaging school supplies for shipment

Now that you’ve collected all of your school supply donations, you need to pack them up so you can ship them to Bless the Children.  Gather your team, the school supplies, plenty of boxes, packing foam/paper and clear shipping tape.  Try to package the school supplies so that they won’t get damaged in the mail.  It's better to ship several smaller, well-packed boxes than one or two very big boxes that aren’t completely full.

Step 9: Calculate shipping cost and raise funds

Now that you're all ready to ship the supplies that you’ve collected through your school supply drive, you need to calculate how much it will cost to mail your boxes of supplies to BTC. Take your boxes to the postal service of your choice (US Mail, FedEx or UPS) and get a cost estimate. Afterwards, raise funds to cover the cost of shipping by asking family, friends, neighbors, etc. to chip in!

Step 10: Ship supplies to BTC

The big day has arrived and now you're ready to ship your boxes of school supplies.  Mail them to: Bless the Children, 411 Cleveland St #195, Clearwater, FL 33755.  Be sure to send BTC an email to let them know your boxes are coming and how many are being mailed!  If you have more than 6 boxes contact BTC before you mail them to coordinate shipping. 

Step 11: Celebrate your efforts

You’ve now completed your project!  It’s important to thank everyone who helped make your drive successful so get together with them or call everyone and let them know how much you appreciate their help.  But most importantly, acknowledge yourself for all your good work!  Be sure to take a moment to think about how much this will mean to the children you’re helping.  Remember that because of you some kids will be able to go to school for the first time.  It’s also important to remember that you will give children hope that their lives can get better.  Now be sure to spread the word about the success of your drive to people in your community to inspire and encourage those around you to run their own school supply drives.

We're excited to work with you to make a better world by helping children!



 *Special thanks to M. Kohlstadt for her help in making this tutorial available.

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