By: The GECU Cares Team
As summer ends, most parents start thinking about the back-to-school season and preparing their kids for the upcoming school year. For many students, back-to-school shopping will include new clothes and shoes, a backpack, and of course, school supplies. However, some families will worry about how to afford even basic supplies as the school year approaches. According to the National Retail Federation (a retail trade group), the average U.S. household spent approximately $864 on back-to-school shopping in 2022.1 The costs continue to rise each year as prices increase and expensive technology, like graphing calculators and laptops, becomes even more prevalent in the classroom. Parents often struggle to manage these expenses and afford all the items on classroom supply lists.
This year, GECU is once again partnering with Beech Acres Parenting Center to make back-to-school a little less stressful for local families in need. The Beech Acres Equip-A-Kid Program helps ease the financial burden for struggling families, so students begin the upcoming school year on a positive note. Beech Acres serves thousands of students and their families in several school districts in the Greater Cincinnati area. You might be wondering how you can help? Discover their Equip-A-Kid Program and School Supply List. Then consider shopping for an elementary, middle, or high school-aged child. Donations are accepted at the Beech Acres Headquarters, 615 Elsinore Place, Suite 500, Cincinnati, OH 45202 through August 10th. If you have questions about this initiative, please call Donial Curry at: 513.233.4826.
Your impact will make a difference! A recent study found that nearly 63% of students arrive on the first day of school without the necessary school supplies.2 Without much-needed supplies, students feel unprepared, which may cause children to fall behind, not want to engage or participate in classroom activities, and generally lack confidence in the classroom to put forth their best effort. When you participate in the Beech Acres Equip-A-Kid Program, you are taking away much of that worry from these families and setting students up for success.
However, the need for school supplies doesn’t just end with families; teachers often fill in the gaps with needed school supplies. National programs also exist, such as the Kids in Need Foundation, which partners with various, local retailers to provides students and teachers with school supplies all year long. The Cincinnati organization affiliated with the KINF you may be familiar with is Crayons to Computers. From 2020-2021, the Crayons to Computers Teacher Resource Center served 16 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, 11,329 teachers, 111,620 students, and 479 schools. The needs are great and every donation counts!
Here are a few things you can do to support back-to-school giving as students prepare to return to school in just a few weeks.
- Host a backpack drive. At GECU, we have participated in a Backpack Campaign for several years. Our team members enjoy the back-to-school shopping, making a difference for students in our community, and supporting their learning journey with the supplies they need to succeed. Beech Acres is accepting backpacks through August 10th if you would like to support their annual Equip-A-Kid Program.
- Spread the news on social media. If you feel passionate about giving back and supporting this cause, team up with one of these great organizations. Use your social media platforms to launch a fundraising campaign. Many, like you, may want to help but don’t know where to start – so do it for them! Every dollar raised helps children in need.
- Host a school supply drive. The Kids in Need Foundation, as well as Crayons to Computers, accepts school supply donations all year long. Get more information about hosting a school supply drive to support the KINF programs. At the end of your School Supply Drive, all the donated items can be shipped to the national KINF Headquarters for free.
- Donate. No time to shop? You can make a monetary gift at: https://beechacres.org/donate-now/. Whether you offer your time, talent, or treasure to any of these organizations, the students truly appreciate the investment you’re making in their education and future.
We hope you take the opportunity to give back during back-to-school season. Your generosity means more than you know to students in need and impacts their lives in many positive ways for years to come!
Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it. - Marian Wright Edelman
We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about back-to-school giving. If you are involved with any of the organizations mentioned in this article or others that serve local students, tell us about it! Please email GECU Cares at: [email protected] #GECUCares