Why the PTO is not organizing the back-to-school supply kit program this year

After last year’s not so great experience – to say the least – of delayed delivery, mixed up orders, general disappointment and a lot of headache, we decided to rethink why we were ordering school supply kits.

The main reason was convenience! Who likes long lines shopping for school supplies in the summer? Also, it was a fundraising opportunity for the PTO.

But then again, to what cost? It was a lot of work for the PTO volunteers (between organizing the program and delivering the kits) for not as much raised money. Families were paying more than regular prices. And most of all, it was wasteful: we were purchasing supplies we didn’t really need – a new calculator every year?

When we really think about it, most of the items in the list do not need to be purchased. We already have a calculator, rulers, scissors at home. Most of us have extra pencils and pens. And the binders, they are pretty much the same every year –  they just need to be emptied and cleaned, and they are good to be used again. Even notebooks can have a second life by taking out the pages that were written on – usually there are many left for at least part of the new school year.

So for 2018-2019 we will be approaching the school supply list in a different way. We will try to avoid the hot summer shopping lines by not going shopping. We can save money and help reduce our impact on resources and waste. And it can be a great teaching opportunity for our children, about sustainability and consumption.