It feels like back to school came early this year (or it snuck up on many of us, anyway), and that means parents have been buying backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils and other supplies. And while that is a routine trip for many, for the millions of people who are living in poverty, struggling to provide basic needs, this time of year brings added stress. That’s where the Kids In Need Foundation comes in.
This organization helps take the load off already financially strained families and provides free backpacks full of supplies to needy students. Some 16 million kids in our country lack the basic supplies needed to succeed in the classroom. Last year, the Kids In Need Foundation helped 154,000 teachers and 4.8 million students in some of the most challenged communities across the country. In its 20 years, they have distributed nearly $800 million in supplies to kids who would otherwise go without. The KINF has provided nearly $1 billion in free school supplies to kids, nationwide, since they started more than 20 years ago.
They also have a new program this year that ships $500 boxes of free supplies to teachers who need them and they now have 40 resource centers nationwide where teachers can shop for free supplies. KINF remembers that not everyone has an uninterrupted school year, sometimes disaster strikes during the year, wiping out homes and schools. Their Second Responder program helps communities impacted by floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters, by bringing students in schools backpacks filled with supplies.
Dave Smith, executive director of The Kids In Need Foundation shares why being a part of KINF is so important to him. “It’s the realization that school supplies can and do change lives. When students have the basic tools to learn and succeed in the classroom all our surveys tell us that their behavior, grades , attendance and even their self esteem improve. By supplying students with these basic tools we are investing in our most valuable asset- our children who will be our future employees, leaders and teachers. Something as simple as a glue stick , a notebook or a pencil can impact the lives of these students in a tangible and intangible way. The intangible is that to get something from someone they do not know and will probably never meet [shows that] someone cares about them being like every other boy and girl. My most memorable moment was when I handed a backpack full of supplies to a third grade girl at a school assembly and she gave me a hug and said, ‘Now I can enjoy school,’ proving again that school supplies change lives.”
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