Tales From The Yellow Bus

I have so many interesting passengers in the summer. Thursday, I was hired to go to Madison High School, pick up 18 adults, and take them to three schools. The employer was SchoolHouseSupplies.org. The adults were volunteers and were helping to deliver backpacks filled with school supplies to Woodmere, Kelly and Whitman.

“Schoolhouse Supplies is an award-winning nonprofit that supports public education in Portland by giving students and teachers free classroom supplies. (They) operate Oregon’s only volunteer-run Free Store for Teachers, which is stocked with supplies donated by the community, the Tools for School backpack giveaway, and Schoolhouse Supplies Online programs.

As Portland area schools enter the back-to-school season, 12,941 students will return to find the supplies they need, instead of an empty desk. This year, 25 local businesses have stepped up to sponsor the Schoolhouse Supplies Tools for Schools program, which provides students in need with a free backpack filled with school supplies to support an entire year of learning. The program partners local businesses with high-need schools, where over 65% of students live at or below the poverty line.”

Thursday, the volunteers unloaded a total of 1500 back packs in the heat in five hours.

My first question to Sara, the leader, was, “Back to school sales must be a big sales time for retailers. How do they feel about you giving away free back packs and supplies to every student?”

The answer surprised me. Many of the sponsors are retailers: Walmart, Meyer Memorial Trust and The Fred Meyer Fund, The Safeway Foundation, Kroger Foods / Fred Meyer Stores, Adidas America, Inc., Nike, Inc., Target, Albertsons, etc.

I didn’t know volunteers provided school supplies to schools with a high level of poverty. So no one feels slighted, all students in the school start the year with new equipment. You can help next year. Be a volunteer by donating your time or donate money and supplies.

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