Helping your child's teacher round up supplies

Oct 1, 2012 at 4:21 a.m. ET

You’d be surprised at how many supplies in your child’s classroom come from your teacher’s pocket instead of the district’s budget. Here’s what you can do to help the teacher round up supplies.

Lend a helping hand
Teacher with student

School districts devote as much of the budget as they can to school supplies, but it’s seldom enough. Instead of letting the students go without, teachers often reach into their own wallets to provide supplies for their classrooms.

So how can you help? There are a few ways you can step in and help take some of this burden away from your child’s teacher, and not all of them involve you opening your wallet.

Hold fundraisers

You’ll have to put some work in to pull a good fundraiser off, but ask other parents and students to pitch in. Wash cars, have a bake sale, sell candy bars and magazines. The possibilities for fundraisers are almost endless, and they can all bring in extra cash to help the teachers get what they need.


Do you coupon? Many of the supplies teachers need can be purchased for free or extremely cheap when you combine manufacturer’s coupons with sales and/or store coupons. Comb ads for sales and check with the store to verify their coupon policy before you make a large purchase. If you see a great deal coming up, ask friends, family and other parents to donate coupons to the cause.

Look for sponsors

Go from door to door and ask local businesses to pitch in. Some may donate supplies or money freely but others may need a bit of an incentive. Agree to post the names of contributing businesses on a banner outside of the school or in a newsletter (get a printing business to donate the banner). In exchange for the publicity, ask them for supplies or money to buy supplies.

Hold a supply drive

Set up boxes at local churches, grocery stores, community buildings and at the school. Include a sign asking for supplies. You’ll be surprised at how many people will donate, especially if you set the box up someplace where the products can be purchased.

Want to hold an even more effective drive? Set up outside of a store, and have students hand out lists of needed supplies to customers as they walk in. Several of them will probably walk out with a donation of supplies.

Quick tip

Involve the whole school in your goal; you'll get a lot further with all those extra hands.

More about school

Middle school: The awkward years
10 Ways to save time during the school year
Keeping connected with your college student