School Supplies – The Tools of Education

“When the seat you are sitting on is broken…when you have stubby pencils or no pencils to write with… when the school itself is tired…when there is no library…when there are no baseballs, or basketballs, or play equipment…and when school is the best part of your day because when you return home, the conditions are even worse… It’s very hard for a young child to keep his or her dreams alive.”

– A quote from one of our volunteers about why we started collecting school supplies and backpacks for kids

One specific example of how this outreach touches children is the story of Oscar, a little boy who lived in the Tijuana garbage dump, who we brought to Santa Barbara for major surgery. When he returned to Tijuana, we visited his school on the edge of the dump and discovered they needed everything! So we started helping the school and one of our actions was collecting school supplies in shoeboxes. We called them Rainbow Boxes. Now, thousands of boxes and children later, we collect school supplies in backpacks and call them Rainbow Backpacks.

School Supplies

For children who have to walk long distances, backpacks make the long walks shorter.   So, for over 2 decades, we’ve been putting huge smiles on the faces of struggling school children – and adding a boost to their learning capacity – when we present them with beautiful backpacks filled with enough tools of education for an entire year. In recent years, we’ve made a special effort to include U.S. kids, far too many of whom fall through the cracks in the richest country in the world.

Our U.S. efforts have resulted in thousands of backpack smiles in Arizona, Michigan, Washington, New Mexico, and California.   Volunteer.  We always need more backpacks, pencils, paper, etc.  Please check out our Publications pages for a list of backpack contents and tips. Kids also need backpacks in Lima, Cayenne, Panama City, Detroit and Montevideo.

Could you lead your faith community or office or business to commit to gathering 50 backpacks a year to distribute to children in your city? In workplaces, instead of exchanging gifts, consider every worker giving a backpack filled with the tools of education for one year.

Help spread the word by printing and distributing our Rainbow Backpacks Flyer!


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