“I can change the world with my own two hands,” reads a sign at an elementary school in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where another sign encourages children to “Dream big. Work hard.” Those aspirations have become more doable for thousands of low-income students in the United States, thanks to school supplies donated through World Vision.
This fall, more than 55 million primary and secondary students across the U.S. head back to school. If you count the 20 million college students starting class, the National Retail Federation expects U.S. families to spend $75.8 billion on school this year — an average of $674 per household. That doesn’t count families who can’t afford to send their children to school with ample pens, pencils, rulers, and paper.
Each fall, companies, churches, pro athletes, and groups like Women of Vision — a volunteer ministry of World Vision — organize work parties to assemble thousands of Yoobi brand school supply packs. Children and teachers rely on the donations to make it through the school year. Some manufacturers help World Vision keep its Teacher Resource Centers stocked year-round, too.
World Vision brings the supplies to area schools from its warehouses in New York, Connecticut, Washington state, Chicago, and West Virginia. It fills its Mobile Teacher Resource Center with boxes of pencils, markers, notebooks, rulers, and other colorful Yoobi supplies.
“This is for when you go home at night and practice writing your name and your shapes,” a volunteer tells a group of second-graders in the Bridgeport school.
The children are giddy with excitement.
“I almost started to cry. I was surprised,” said Guadalupe, 7, after she received a bag of brand-new supplies. “I needed some [supplies].”
It’s a similar scene in classrooms across the country. Teachers beam with joy as they watch their students unwrap the gifts.
“I was excited,” said Mayeli, another 7-year-old. “I’ll glue something.”
Stephon, 7, said he would use his new markers to create artwork: “I like to draw tall towers.”