It’s only the end of July, and we're still in the thick of the season, but in a week or so, like clockwork, the floaties, swimsuits, flip flops, and basically all things “summer” will be housed on the discount shelves, sporting neon signs begging you to buy them at “75% OFF THE ALREADY REDUCED PRICE!” And taking their place in the spotlight: Back-to-School EVERYTHING.
As I sit through the consecutive back-to-school commercials pummeled at me during 30-second time slots, I end up thinking about my days as an elementary and high school student— how my mother would teasingly sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” as I dreaded the end of summer, of my freedom; feeling the anticipation of a new semester, the first day, and a fresh start; and my personal favorite activity, shopping for new EVERYTHING. Seeing things in retrospect, I can really get a grasp on just how damn lucky I was. Lucky enough to get fresh supplies, lucky enough to be able to buy new clothes, shoes, and whatever else I needed, but most of all, lucky enough to have a mom that never even hinted at the financial weight she must have carried with all that back-to-school shopping, especially with two more kids to provide for.
Our family was fortunate enough to be able to manage that weight, but what about the families that can’t? These days, the cost for school supplies (including a backpack) averages at about $107.00 PER CHILD. Some can shell out that $107.00 without a second thought, and some can shell it out with some budget adjustments and a grumble. But then there are those who don’t have $107.00 to spare— parents who don’t have the emotional room to celebrate their kids’ return to school, as my mom did, because the space has been taken up by the knots in their stomach spawned by the financial anxiety. There are children who can’t get the supplies on their list, and so will be accused of coming in on their first day unprepared, setting a crappy precedent for the rest of their school year. We want to, need to, help these families.
Last year, we put together what we could and came up with three backpacks of supplies that we donated to Circle of Care, Passaic County’s Care Management Organization (CMO). This year, we’re continuing these efforts, and going for more by holding our second annual school supply drive. We’re looking for any contributions that you can pitch in, whether they be school supplies or a monetary donation. All proceeds and supplies will be used to fill up our backpacks, which we’ll deliver to CMO’s in the North Jersey area. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, these CMO’s are community-based organizations that provide treatment and support to kids with needs and their families.
So please, check out the list of supplies below, along with our link to the drive. Because every kid should be able to look forward to an awesome school year, and every parent deserves a little back-to-school celebration.