Both a child's performance in school and self-esteem can impact their entire life, as well as the community in which they grow up. Help make going back to school a positive experience by purchasing and stocking a backpack for a child. Not only are you eliminating a challenge for a low-income family, you are enabling a young student to start the school year on a more level playing field.

  1. Select a family in your neighborhood or workplace who is in financial need and has school-aged children. Or call a local elementary school, soup kitchen, or church to find a family.
  2. Get your friends, co-workers, and family members involved so you can buy in bulk. It's more cost-effective, and more kids can benefit.
  3. Go to the website of the child's school to see if a list of supplies for each grade level is posted.
  4. If nothing is listed on the school's website, here are some items you could include:
  • One school backpack
  • Six #2 pencils
  • Six medium ballpoint pens
  • One package of colored pencils
  • One package of markers
  • One barrel pencil sharpener
  • One pencil box or pencil bag
  • Two-pocket paper folders
  • Two wide-ruled spiral notebooks
  • One package of wide-ruled notebook paper
  • One 12-inch ruler
  • Calculator
5. Select backpacks and school supplies that are fun and gender specific.

6. Deliver the backpacks with a smile.


  • 39% of the nation's children, 28 million children, are from low-income families—the majority of which head to school each fall.
  • Children need school supplies to complete schoolwork and homework.
  • Required school supplies cost between $20 and $100, depending on the grade level. This expense can be a financial burden for low-income families, especially those with more than one child.
  • As they grow, children become increasingly sensitive to the evaluations of their peers. A social stigma occurs when children are different; and children are aware that they are different if they don't have new school supplies and the other children do.
  • Having school supplies that all the other kid’s have impacts a child's self-esteem positively. Self-esteem impacts a child's success in school.
  • Children who feel good about themselves and their abilities are much more likely to do well in school...and in life.
Excerpted from: Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza. Copyright © 2008 Every Monday Matters LLC. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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