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Helping Hands: School supplies

Helping Hands: School supplies
(Delivered Aug, 14, 2014) We’ve used the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank before due to several months of unemployment, EI not coming in on time etc, and we wanted to give back whenever we could, but not by donating food, since they already get that from some major grocery stores (and that is pretty much all they get). After checking their site, I did not see anything for school supplies and thought that this could work for the end of summer, since I did not want to wait until Christmas, and everybody donates around Christmas anyways, so I wanted to do it at a time, where they receive less. School sales rolled around in early August, so off we went.

Helping Hands: School supplies -  sorting & packing
We had decided that we could afford 20 packs and we got pencils, coloring pencils, wax crayons, rulers, eraser/pencil sharpener combos, glue sticks, report covers, note books, refill papers, exercise books and knapsacks to put everything into, most of it at Staples during their big sale (5 or 10 cents per item and pretty much everything under 1 dollar) and the rest of it at dollar stores. Once we had everything, I had Nico start by making 20 different piles with the paper refills and we went from there, continuing by stacking the items into neat piles of supplies. It also was a good exercise for him in counting, since we had a few items where we needed 2 per stack and some of the things had extras (due to package sizes), so he had to count and it also helped with sorting stuff. After we were done, and with the help of Grandma Dada, we put everything into the knapsacks at lunch time, stopped at the chiro and off we were to the Food Bank.

helping hands school supplies donation giving w
Alex grabbed a basket inside, we put all the bags into the cart and there were a few kids coming out of the food bank, so Nico grabbed a bag right away to run to them and give them one of the sacks. At first they had no clue what he wanted to give them, so Alex followed along while I stayed with the cart to explain that it was school supplies for the kids. Obviously the kids and parents were very happy and grateful. When we finally made our way inside with the bags that were left, we were greeted by one of the volunteers, who then went to get the agency liaison of the food bank. We explained to her what we were doing and she asked, if we were with a company or organization, when we said no, she was rather shocked, but when we told her that we had used the food bank before and wanted to give back, she was grateful and impressed.

Helping Hands: School supplies -  at the food bank
Here’s a photo that she took of Nico, because she was so wowed by him :)

So all the while I talked to the food bank lady, Nico and Alex were handing out the bags to the kids that were actually present and about half an hour later we were down to three bags, which we left with her to hand out to other children. One mom Alex talked to, was particularly impressed by us taking initiative and said that we deserved a kiss, lol.

Nico had a blast shopping (he wanted to get more and more stuff, lol, and also helped the cashier by putting everything together on the counter), even though he knew it was not for him, had a lot of fun sorting (he even broke out in song while doing so) and couldn’t wait to get the bags to the children at the food bank. He also really enjoyed handing them out and when the lady at the food bank thanked him, he just casually said “No problem, that’s what I’m here for, to help!”, as if we did this every day, lol. Nico is still young, so he doesn’t get the whole concept of it really, I think, but I did ask him, how it felt to give those things to the kids and he said that it felt good. I also explained to him why we were giving it to the kids. We will try to keep doing this randomly throughout the year, whenever we can think of something that they might like/need that is not necessarily on their list of additional projects.

No matter, if you have had to use the services of an organization like this before or not, you can see that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a difference and really help out people that are struggling at the time. A lot of children are in need and if everybody could just do a little bit to help them out, it can make a big difference in their lives. If you do anything like this, we would love to hear from you and add it to this page, so we can all encourage others to do the same :)

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