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Friday Fast: Give a kid a backpack

Back in 2008, we featured a Friday post to raise funds for our favorite candidates or their causes.  But with this Mother of All Recessions, the funds might be better spent on something a little more tangible and close to home. So, I am reviving the Friday Fast.

Here’s how it goes:  Give up a meal today and send the money you might have spent on it to the Friday Fast recipients.  It might not seem like a lot of money but when you pool your six bucks with a bunch of other people, the money adds up quickly.  And you can make some people happy and make a real difference in their lives.

Today’s Friday Fast recipients are kids.  It’s back to school season and children everywhere are getting lists of school supplies from their teachers.  When I was a child (cue the creaky old voice), school supplies were provided by the school for the most part.  Our teachers passed out paste and paper and funky yellow pens and #2 pencils.  The list of supplies we had to buy was relatively short.  Now, parents can easily spend well over $100 for items on the list.  And teachers can be weirdly specific. A couple of years ago, one of the items requested was a notebook “without the metal spiral (for safety reasons)”.  Hokay, maybe we can send that one over to Freerangekids for analysis.

In this economy, spending that kind of money on school supplies can be next to impossible for many families.  In my family, we are recycling more and more of last year’s supplies but we’ll still have to replenish and it’s not cheap.  Imagine what it’s like for kids whose parents have just lost their jobs or their houses.  It’s hard enough to think when your family is under stress.  What must it be like if you have to go to school without a new backpack or pencils or notebooks?  Coming to school unprepared makes the school day a lot harder for kids and teachers.  And peer group interactions are so important to a kid in elementary school.  It’s one thing to be poor, quite another to feel the bite of poverty when you can’t afford a glue stick or pencils.

You can’t eliminate all sadness and evil from the world.  It’s not possible for one person alone to save it.  But you can do *something*, one opportunity at a time, to strengthen the bonds between people, to lessen the tendency of the world towards disorder and to increase stability.  It takes only a little bit of work, a little bit of mindfulness, a little bit of money.

Give up your lunch today and give a kid a backpack.

Here are some suggestions for your donations.  If you are aware of others, list them in the comments.

K.I.D.S for Kids in Distressed Situations

Give a kid a backpack

ILoveSchools (teachers also spend money on supplies.  Give them a hand.)


United Way Stuff the Bus

Staples Give Back-Pack