Sometimes giving back is the greatest gift and one that helps students understand basic needs better.
In several schools in which I worked, we would plan to give personal hygiene and car products to the local women’s shelter or the homeless shelter in the area.
Here is how we did it:
Each grade level would decide on an item to contribute. The grade would brainstorm some ways of raising money so that each student would be able to contribute one of the selected items. The teachers would ask parents to contribute one of the selected items in the name of the child in the grade if they were able to do so. Families that could, contributed more than one item. Families that could not were covered by the funding plan.
The items we collected were:
- Lip balm
If we had additional grades in the building, the following could be collected”
- Dental floss
- Body lotion
- Hand sanitizer
- toenail clipper
The teachers would compose a short note to the intended recipients to be included in the package and would contribute boxes of Ziploc bags. I suspect that some of the disposable plastic containers would work well, too.
When the items were collected, the older grades would help sort the items into plastic zip closure bags. We’d set it all up like an assembly line. Each student would take a plastic bag and then put one of each item into the bag, zip it closed (often with the help of an adult) and then drop it into a box.
We did a variation on this project for victims of a tornado one year. Each grade made a Christmas ornament – you know, the ones that are often made by elementary children, the ones moms and grandparents cherish. Those are often lost in a catastrophic event like a tornado. We made a package containing one of each kind of ornament and, by contacting local churches, send a package to each family who had lost the most. We received many phone calls and letters from families who told us that the ornaments helped them remember the ones their children had made and that had been lost.
When teaching at the university level, two of my students spearheaded a project for a capstone class they were required to take. They contacted local organizations and businesses and put together backpacks with various items in them for foster children. Foster children may wind up moving to a new home or environment at a moment’s notice and often are not able to take much if anything along.
Has your school done anything like this? Share your story!