Last week, PATCares held its 6th annual Italian Café lunch to raise money for school supplies. In case you don't remember, we do a school supply drive every year for the Tallahassee Foster Parent Association. The FPA sets up all the supplies in a room and lets the kids "go shopping" to pick out what they like and need for school. We had about $100 worth of supplies donated to us at work (and from some of my friends - thanks!), and we bought the rest. PATLive matches all the money we collect, so Alex and I went shopping last night to purchase $600 of supplies. It took us almost 3 hours!
It's an ordeal, since we have to try to think of what kids from 5K all the way through high school might need, and pick things in colors and designs for both boys and girls. We know they have a real need for backpacks, so we usually start with those. Understandably, a foster parent finds it easier to buy the $0.25 pack of crayons and the $1 pack of pens than the $30 backpack. I've noticed that some backpacks might be cute, but they don't even last until Christmas at our house, and I'm sure these kids have the same problem. The association chairwoman confirmed they would rather have a fewer number of good quality backpacks than a plethora of the cheap junk ones. So, we bought 12 bags that ended up almost $400. That left $200 for everything else. As you can see, we ended up with quite a number of things! We have notebooks, dividers, paper, duotangs, spiral notebooks, pencils, pens, erasable pens, highlighters, protractors, scientific calculators, erasers, crayons, report covers, glue, pencil pouches, and other assorted goodies.
Exhausting? Yes. Worth every moment of it? Absolutely.