Imagine opening a new marble notebook on the first day of school, running your fingers along the paper and taking out your new box of crayons — the 64-pack with the sharpener in the back.
Now imagine what it might be like to show up to class empty-handed and have to ask your teacher, or a classmate, to borrow a sheet of paper and pencil.
Many children don’t get the same opportunities to succeed in school as their peers because they don’t have the tools necessary to get the most out of their education. And families that are already struggling financially feel an additional burden in September when children must return to school with a new set of supplies.
Some teachers bear the weight of their students’ school-supplies shortage as well. In May 2018, the U.S. Department of Education found that 94 percent of teachers across the country paid for supplies out of their own pockets in the 2014-15 school year.
A child may not derive the same joy from school supplies that they associate with toys. And a pack of colored pencils may not seem as important as a healthy meal. But donating to school supplies drives is as necessary as donating to toy or food drives around the holidays.
The Long Island Nets have partnered with United Way of Long Island to organize the 11th Stuff-a-Bus program. The Herald urges you to help make the event a success by donating supplies to one of 18 drop-off locations in Nassau County. The deadline for donations is Sept. 3, and on Sept. 5, volunteers will meet at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale to organize the donations and load them onto school buses that will deliver them to beneficiaries. For additional information, visit www.longislandnets.com.
Some towns and cities across the U.S. have come up with a creative solution to help those who need school supplies this fall. When residents receive parking tickets, they can purchase school supplies to donate to local schools in lieu of paying a fine. Programs like this are under way in Las Vegas; Mulvane, Kan., and Clinton, Miss.