Yesterday my mom forwarded an e-mail with coupons for school supplies and it hit me: I should probably get serious and focused about school shopping! W starts kindergarten in a month and we are both incredibly excited but I haven’t done my job in keeping up with the logistics. Does he need a specific kind of backpack? What kind of supplies does he need at home and what supplies will we need to provide for his classroom? And lunch! Beyond pinning some adorable bento box style lunch ideas I haven’t given much thought to what kind of lunch W should have for school.
Somewhere in my neighborhood there is another family, another kid, another mom, who is counting down to school as well. Where W and I look at a back to school shopping list with excitement and glee, this other family may be looking at it with anxiety or dread.
When you are doing your back to school shopping, think about adding something to your list: another family.
Times are tough for many of us, but when I shop for supplies this summer I am going to consider the family who may not be able to. I can buy an extra box of pencils, an few extra bottles of glue, if there is a sale I may be able to buy lots of extra little things.
We don’t know any of the families at W’s new school as it begins at kindergarten. I have no idea who may or may not need extra help this summer, and honestly I do not need to know. It isn’t my business to know. I plan on filling up a back pack with these extra supplies and giving them to the principal. She will know where they belong.
When it comes to lunch there is something we can all do as well. We can be what Feeding America calls “Food Angels” and help stock up our local food pantry or community centers. If your school has an after school program find out if they need any help with providing snacks. There is a need to help food insecurity in every city in America.
Every time someone shares a story about a family on SNAP benefits or a family who is in between homes or a family who has just had their bottom fall out I remember: that was my family. Not that long ago it was my family who lived and was then able to bounce back because other people had taken us into consideration. They didn’t give up on us. They didn’t walk on by.
Now that my family is in a better financial place I know I am now in a position of privilege. It is my privilege to turn and help my neighbor, it is our privilege to help classmates, we are thankful to have the opportunity to do for others what so many have done for us.
If you are able to consider other families preparing for school, know it will mean a great deal for many, many years. We are all in this together.
August 22nd is Be an Angel Day. Consider making becoming a food angel for families in need.