We just got back from Chicago. We're about to go the Maritimes. We haven't not been worried about funds for either vacation. For someone who is pretty darned accustomed to worrying about money, that kind of totally blows my mind.
We were out running errands today when we popped into a local department store to pick up a few last minute things for our trip. When I was there I saw that the pool accessories and summer toys had been replaced by school supplies. It made me think of how when we were in Chicago Denise took us couponing (because she's good at that) and we looked at school supplies. Their back to school promotions start quite a bit earlier than ours.
Then I thought of something else that happened in Chicago. When I was at BlogHer I went to The Unmarketing Manifesto (because I am not a brand *ahem*). I thought about how Michelle told us about how she sometimes works with brands if she believes there's a way she can use that work to do good for others. It all started when she was nominated for a prize and that prize happened to be a thousand dollars. This is what she said: "So the prize was a thousand dollars cash and I was like, I don't need the money. We're okay. I remember a time when I wasn't okay so I know what okay really means but that thousand dollars would be really meaningful to a domestic violence agency."
I also remember when things weren't okay. There were times when I've had to borrow money to pay my rent (and how lucky was I that I could do that?) and there were times when I was too scared to eat the food in my pantry because I didn't know when or how I'd get more food. I was lucky because the only person I had to worry about at the time was me. I didn't have kids or a significant other who were relying on me for support.
Then I thought of a link I'd bookmarked and shared on Facebook the other day. It was about how people could buy school supplies for children who need them and drop them off a some local Ottawa Public Library branches or CAA locations. They prefer cash donations (which are easy, I gave them one) but I knew I wanted to provide supplies as well as cash.
I turned to Lee and told him we'd be filling up a backpack and he just nodded and said, "Well, I guess we'll be needing a cart." We grabbed a backpack, an insulated lunch kit and anything else that looked practical, was a good price, or we just simply liked. It was easy and you know what else? It was fun. In fact, it was so much fun we had forgot what exactly it was we'd come in for in the first place.
The backpack is crammed full and sitting in my dining room where it will remain until after our vacation. At that point we'll take it to one of the local drops off locations. From there, I hope it will go to help make things just a little bit more okay for someone else.
Every community I've ever lived in has done something like this. I'm guessing your community does, too. Is there a way you could help make someone's back to school season a little bit more okay?