With the next school year coming better into focus, GRACE is preparing for an entirely new Back-To-School experience—and the key is flexibility.
For nearly ten years, GRACE has partnered with school districts to provide supplies for thousands of elementary, middle school, and high school students each year. In addition, the GRACE Clothing Room provided apparel, shoes, jackets, winter coats, and other clothing needs.
As a rule of thumb, GRACE prepared school supplies, backpacks, accessories, electronic and technology needs for the number of children in the district who participated in the Free and Reduced Lunch program.
This year, many students will start the new school year in a virtual classroom, then transition to an actual classroom in the fall. Their needs are certain to shift as well.
On average, local families spend about $635 on Back-To-School shopping, according to the National Retail Federation. In normal years, Back-To-School drives by churches, social and civic groups, and local businesses gathered the vast numbers of backpacks, supplies, equipment, and clothing needed.
The coronavirus crisis has disrupted the regular flow of donations and material goods needed to make sure all of these children are ready for school. Moreover, it is not certain at this point what the primary needs for children will be.
For those interested in helping these children prepare for school, we recommend gift cards to Walmart, Target, Amazon, and other e-gifts. Gift cards provide the most flexible means possible for children whose parents may not be able to afford school supplies this year.
To add even more flexibility, we are asking donors to designate their gift card donations for “GRACE Children’s Programs”. This would assign the ability to use the cards for Back-To-School needs or other childrens’ needs—and we’re not exactly sure what that will be at this point.