Why do we do a school supplies drive every year? Because walking in the first day prepared makes all the difference in the world, writes Katie Schindler, a local teacher and long-time Vista member.
The bells rings. Morning announcements start as you slide into your assigned desk. You take a quick assessment of the room and see a few familiar faces. You breathe a sigh of relief. Then the teacher asks for students to take out their supplies to get organized. The knot in your stomach begins to recoil as you judge how to tell her you don’t have any.
As a teacher in the Temple/Belton area for the past fifteen years, I know that this is all too common of a start for some kids. I can see the panic in their eyes as they roam through the reasons they can offer for a problem that isn’t theirs to bear. The last thing we want our students to feel on the first day of school is a sense of dread or embarrassment because they don’t have the needed supplies. Arriving at school with all their supplies instills confidence in the student. It builds excitement for a new year and a fresh start. When a student doesn’t have their needed supplies, it may draw attention to an already embarrassing situation. It can often mean that the student is starting out the year feeling inadequate instead of sufficient. Having the needed supplies allows the student to participate in class seamlessly. It ensures that it won’t bring any negative attention to a situation that is an easy remedy.
Vista Community Church has been able to supply over 200 students with the needed supplies for the school year through our annual school supply drive, and it couldn’t be easier to participate. All you have to do is pick up a tag with gender and grade to provide supplies for a child. My family likes to select the supplies together, and we pray for the child that will receive it.
If this is an expense that you cannot bear alone, consider collecting money as a small group. You can pool your money to buy as many supplies as your donations can accommodate. Often there are families that miss the opportunity to sign up for school supplies, whether it is that they are new to the area or just not informed of the program. These students often come in the middle of the year when school supplies are dwindling. If your small group knows a teacher, you can ask to help with some common needed supplies to have on hand in the classroom for such situations. Many campuses have supply rooms with not only school supplies but also clothing for students in need. Consider donating new or gently used items to your local campus, or contacting the school counselor for specific seasonal needs.
Above all, please commit to pray. Pray for all the students who are about to embark on a new year. Pray that it can be a fresh start. Pray for the students that are receiving supplies, that the hearts of their families will be softened by the gesture of generosity. Pray for the students who already have supplies, that their hearts would be softened to the needs of others. Pray for the teachers to utilize their time with the precious ones that enter their classrooms to extend the grace and love of Christ.
Want to help with Vista’s School Supply Drive? Visit our table in the Commons through the month of July, or email Jonah Fox to learn more.