Since 2015, the Rotary Club of New Orleans has been dedicated to filling backpacks with school supplies for low-income elementary school children attending public schools in New Orleans. Supported by a small district grant provided by Rotary District 6840, this program provides 175 to 200 children with backpacks filled with school supplies before the start of the school year. For families living in poverty, the cost of school supplies each year is daunting, and prices are not getting lower. If earning a minimum wage, to purchase the total amount of school supplies required equals two days of labor.
Rotarian's work closely with community centers and shelters in the 2nd and 3rd district neighborhoods to ensure that distribution is successful, and children who need these supplies most receive them in time for the school year. The schools in the neighborhoods report about 90% of children qualifying for free or reduced lunch, indicating the poverty level. Over half are single parents who work low paying jobs.
Backpacks are picked up by members at club meetings, and then filled by Rotarians based on a master list with supplies that are common to most schools, such as pens and pencils, notebooks, and binders, and returned to the following club meeting. All backpacks being filled must be returned by July 28. Cash donations can be made to the club and will be used for purchasing backpacks and supplies. Donations will be accepted through August 4.
Donations can be made by credit card online at norfinola.org under "Backpack Project." Any companies interested in getting involved can contact Penny Menge at firstname.lastname@example.org. To fill each backpack will cost approximately $35 to $45. The item inventory is listed below:
One 1 inch - 3 Ring Binder
Two packs Wide-Rule Loose Leaf Paper
Three Notebooks or Composition Notebooks
One Pencil Pouch
One Storage Box
One 24 count pack #2 Pencils
One 12 count pack Colored Pencils
One 24 count pack Crayola Crayons
One 8 count pack Washable Markers
One 4 count pack ink pens
Four Paper Pocket Folders
One 3 count pack Glue Sticks
One bottle School Glue
One Pencil Sharpener
One 3 count pack Erasers
One pack Pencil Top Erasers
One pair Fiskar Safety Scissors
One travel bottle Hand Sanitizer
One 3 count pack Pocket Tissues
One pack Baby Wipes (Not Clorox wipes)