Summer may be just around the corner, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the next school year. For many parents, the thought of back-to-school season can be stressful and lead to many tears. They think about the financial strain, the impact of cheap supplies, and how their children will be seen by other students when they don’t have the newest or trending supplies.
Not all families have the capacity to provide the best back-to-school supplies for their children. Donated school supplies help ease the burden. It’s not just about the financial burden – children from families with limited funds can often feel embarrassed or ashamed about their lack of supplies – or inferior supplies. They stand out in a negative way, which can be incredibly damaging to their self-image and their place amongst peers. Through donated items such as backpacks, pencils, and notebooks, families and groups can help provide essential tools to children in need. Even better, quality backpacks and name brand supplies can help boost self confidence.
When nonprofits organize their backpack program or back to school drive, it’s always a challenge balancing the desire for high quality supplies versus servicing more students. On one end are organizations that provide name brand products like Crayola markers and crayons – on the other end are organizations that choose the lowest cost items to support the highest number of students. Wherever your oganizations fall on the spectrum, it’s important to provide products that will last, whether they are generics or not.
Not All Backpacks Are Created Equal
Many donated backpacks through backpack drives have issues with durability and longevity, which can cause even more stress for families already struggling to make ends meet. That’s why it’s important to choose high-quality backpacks that can withstand the wear and tear of a school year. To help, we’ve put together a few pointers to help you choose the best backpacks this year.
- Zipper Quality: This is one of the most common concerns with backpacks. We all know that cheap school supplies are just that, cheap. Unfortunately, this also applies to backpacks with low-quality zippers that won’t zip up or frequently split requiring families to spend money that the drive was intended to save. Look for backpacks with sturdy and reliable zippers that can withstand daily wear and tear.
- Size: Different regions of the country and students of different ages require different sizes of backpacks. Consider the northern and mid-west students who may need larger packs for bulkier clothing during the colder months. Elementary students have fewer books and supplies than high school students. It’s important to choose a backpack that is the right size for your child’s needs to avoid overloading and back pain.
- Backpack Bottoms: Because of the contents of the backpacks, high school students require greater backpack bottom durability. Check the backpack bottom for either reinforced stitching or additional padding. This will ensure that your child’s backpack can withstand the weight of textbooks and other heavy supplies.
- Strap Durability: Cheaper backpack straps have a tendency to tear and fray, exposing the foam inside and quickly deteriorating. To last the school year, reinforced stitching found in quality packs is needed for all students. Look for backpacks with padded and adjustable straps that are comfortable for your child to wear and won’t fall apart after a few weeks of use.
- Materials: Plastic can dry and crack, while cheap materials are easily torn and split at the seams. Ensure you’ve selected higher quality materials to ensure the backpack makes it through the school year. Durable materials such as nylon or polyester are a good option, as they are both lightweight and strong.
EXTRA TIP: Save the frustration and skip the water bottle holder – or at least, don’t make this a priority. On low-cost backpacks, the mesh material is not sufficient and won’t stand up to regular use unless they have additional support. Instead, focus on finding a backpack with features that are more essential and reliable.
If you want to take your impact to the next level, consider Adopt-A-Student. With Roonga, organizations can create an Adopt-a-Student program where personalized wishlists are posted – groups and community members select students they’d like to sponsor and purchase child/teen-selected backpacks and clothing that is personalized to their size, style, and color preference. Donors enjoy shopping for specific students and find the experience richer than simply purchasing a set of generic school supplies for a nameless child. To learn more about setting up an Adopt program, contact Roonga for details.
How Roonga Helps
Whether you’re planning a massive school supply drive, backpack drive, or simply looking for the best supplies to distribute to those in need, Roonga helps.
Our team of experts has years of experience partnering with organizations just like yours to help support students and families in need. Take a look at other Roonga-organized school supply drives like the IFCS’ Ready, Set, School! and the WFTV Channel 9 ABC / 9 Family Connection / HopeNow Foundation Backpack-A-Thon Virtual School Supply Drive.
If a drive isn’t what you have in mind, Roonga serves as the hub to connect nonprofits with the most cost effective quality supplies. Your organization and those whom you serve can benefit from Roonga’s bulk purchasing program and established relationships with suppliers. Purchasing in bulk can help keep costs low while maintaining the level of quality that goes a long way to making your service users know that they are valued and appreciated.
Together, we give every child the opportunity to succeed in school and in life! Let’s get started.