My hard work so far is really paying off! A good portion of my spring break was actually spent running errands related to this awesome charity project. Within the time span of one week, my boxes filled jumped from about two to the whole ten. I’m excited to see how much more can be accomplished by the first week of May. Over spring break I collected supplies contributed by F.C.C. Coleman and University of Florida Inter-Residential-Housing-Association plus spoke at a church to kick off their drive.
My mom works at Federal Correctional Complex Coleman (a federal prison) and has been really supportive of the School Supply Drive. When I told her about the charity my class was getting involved in she thought the cause was great and wanted to think of a way to help. Unfortunately, it is difficult to run a school supply drive and have a place with an open donation box in a federal prison. Instead, she asked fellow co-workers for monetary donations to purchase supplies with. Last week we went to Wal-Mart and used the donations to shop for school supplies. We bought notebooks, crayons, pencils, toys and more. The shopping was a lot of fun and we received plenty of strange looks when checking out.
Also on my break, during my visit with my older sister at University of Florida in Gainesville, I picked up donations from the student government group involved in on-campus housing called the Inter-Residential-Housing-Association. When the freshman arrived on their first day, they received an orange and blue tote with some cups, post-its, a pen, and a Frisbee. Some of these totes were never distributed and were donated with the free contents inside. On top of these, there were A LOT of empty totes without homes and the IRHA generously donated those too. It may not be pencil and paper but sending totes with the supplies will give the students something durable to store their supplies and other belongings in.
Finally, I visited my grandma’s church in Lakeland, Reformation Lutheran Church whose pastor I had been communicating with via email. The church congregation regularly partakes in charity events and happily welcomed another to their list. They let me speak at the end of their service about the purpose of the School Supply Drive and afterward I gave them a couple boxes I’d decorated. Just walking out the door, a few women handed me some cash and said I could put it towards the shipping funds. It’s so touching to see such selflessness in a small community and I’m so excited to see what great donations they contribute.