At this year’s Back to School Sale, we offered bags of school supplies whose contents varied by grade level. In all, there were 180 bags available for purchase. We also offered loose supplies, underwear, socks, belts (required as part of a school uniform), and flash drives (required for grades 6-8). This year, the contents of the bags were updated and the belts and flash drives added in response to conversations that the Sale’s planners had with EVSC personnel. We also made a special effort to have available the underwear options that the kids would prefer—notably colored boxers for the older boys.
On the 6th, Patchwork’s doors opened at 9:00 am to a large crowd of parents and children and we were completely sold out by 10:30! More than a few parents thanked us for having the sale, and one parent remarked to a volunteer that she appreciated the “peace and respect” she found at Patchwork. In all, we served children from at least 13 different schools within the district. All agreed it was a valuable service to the community.
Unlike several other Back to School activities in the area, we charge a minimal fee for our school supplies rather than giving them away for free. For instance, complete bags of supplies cost parents $3 for grades K-3rd and $5 for grades 4 & 5. Flash drives were sold here for $2, though we purchased them for $5.99 each. So why charge? We believe it contributes to that feeling of respect. Parents don’t need to bring proof of their low income or drag their children out of bed to prove they exist. They just have to have a few dollars. In our experience, parents appreciate this system and don’t take advantage of our generosity.
Of course the Sale took a great deal of preparation to pull off. Many thanks to Helen Fisher, Jane Johansen, Jane Staton, and Beth Stone who headed up the organizing, shopping, and bagging. Thanks also to the members of the Green River Kiwanis and Northside Congregational Church who came on August 2 to help bag the school supplies and prepare the individual items for display. Then there were all the people who helped on the day of the sale. It also takes generous donors to make up the sizeable difference between the cost of the supplies and what parents pay, so many thanks to those who gave this year.
We’re already looking toward next year’s sale. With the new items we added this year, our costs increased significantly and we’re looking for additional churches, individuals, or businesses that would like to join us in supporting this project.