How-to run your own school-supply drive

School Supply Drive Toolkit

Thank you for your interest in hosting a School Supply Drive! ​Since 1995, the Kids In Need Foundation has provided kids from low-income schools with the supplies needed to participate and engage in the classroom. You can help, too!

Download a PDF version of the Supply Drive Toolkit

Already have supplies collected? Go ahead and complete the supply drive donation form and choose which delivery option you’d like. We’re proud to offer free shipping from anywhere in the country for boxes under 50lbs!

Tips for Success

How do you want to collect supplies? Two popular options include:

  • A designated day, week, or month-long collection with barrels or boxes in stores and businesses
  • A one-day event in which the community brings donations to fill a school bus or a large truck, or supplies are collected in conjunction with a corporate, community, or sporting event

Who will you invite to participate? Engage the corporations, businesses, and individuals in your community who will help promote and support your project. Share details about your drive in your social media spaces. Issue a press release about your drive and follow up with local media about running your story. Create signs and posters to promote your drive.

Collect what students need most​. ​Kids In Need Foundation is delighted to accept all new school supplies; according to teachers, crayons, glue sticks, markers, notebooks, pencils, and pens are what they need most. Please avoid any used school supplies or items that have offensive words, artwork or symbols on the packaging or surface.

Try a friendly competition! ​Create competitions among businesses, departments, and individuals to see who can collect the most supplies.

Ship or deliver your collected supplies. ​When your supply drive is complete, simply click here ​to complete a supply drive donation form. On the form you will see two options for delivering your supplies to students:

  • You can ship your supply drive products, free of charge, with a special shipping label courtesy of our generous partner, Zappos, and their Zappos for Good campaign. All collected supplies will be shipped to the Kids In Need Foundation at no cost to you and distributed to students and teachers from low-income schools at no cost to them. Simply box up the collected supplies, print and attach a unique label for each box (up to 50 lbs) and drop your boxes off at any UPS shipping location…your donation will be on the way to making a difference in the lives of students! Click here for details.
  • If you would instead like to deliver your boxes to a nearby high-need school or Kids In Need Resource Center, we will connect you to the appropriate contact person.

Follow-up! ​Send thank you letters to all who supported your drive, letting them know how much their support means. Let them know how many supplies were collected and how many students will be able to participate in their classroom activities because of your school supply drive.

Telling the Story

Students writing at deskShare the Kids In Need mission with your community to help others understand why you are conducting a supply drive. ​The Kids In Need Foundation’s mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need.

Explain the Need. ​Roughly 12 million kids live in poverty in the U.S. and 30 million rely on federal nutrition programs (free and reduced lunch). For these students, school supplies are a luxury. Many arrive at school without a single pencil or notebook, unable to participate in day-to-day classroom activities. Teachers often attempt to close the gap by purchasing supplies with their own money, but they can only do so much.

Show the Connection. ​When asked about the impact that access to free school supplies has on the classroom environment, teachers reported the following:

  • 95%: report an ability to create a more equitable learning environment 
  • 94%: report an increase in ability to focus on other areas of need
  • 90%  report an increase in the variety and scope of projects offered to students
  • 99%  support their classrooms with personal funds

Describe the Big Picture. ​The Kids In Need Foundation provides free supplies to more than 6 million students and 200,000 teachers each year. In 2018 we reached a milestone in our 23 year history: one billion dollars in free school supplies distributed to kids across the country. This is your chance to be part of a service project that will help students across the country succeed!

Share the Stories. ​Teachers love to share stories about the impact that access to free school supplies has on their students! We collected the following testimonials through our annual National School Supply Impact Study. They demonstrate the difference supplies make on students every day in the classroom!

Teacher Testimonials

“No pencil, no paper, means no learning going on. I have many students that come to school without the basic necessary supplies for the school day. I am able to give the students paper and pencils without blinking an eye because I get these supplies from Kids In Need.”

“Consistent access to free supplies makes the difference in a student’s emotional capacity to learn and helps them to feel the support of their community for their learning.”

“What I like about the Kids In Need Foundation is that it levels the playing field without the low income children being aware that they are disadvantaged (at least where supplies are concerned). No one knows how the crayons got put on the child’s desk with their name on it. It’s one less stress for our children to worry about.”

“100% of my HS students receive free and reduced lunch, so it’s really special for them when they get to use or keep high quality school supplies. I’ve seen students become invested in learning after getting something as small as a new ruler or eraser. It sends the message that we care and that they deserve proper tools because they are worth it.”

“There are a number of homeless shelters within the immediate vicinity of my school so we get new students almost on a daily basis. Almost every new student comes to school without any resources. This transitional period makes moving to a new school much more bearable because of the Kids in Need donations.”

“As a specialist teacher in music, I do not have students bringing school supplies to me at the beginning of the year so I rely heavily on Kids in Need for basic supplies like pencils, crayons, and markers. I see 500+ students and I go through supplies so fast!”

“I have had students over the past few years who had no school supplies and would sleep through classes or miss school days because they didn’t want to come to school which, in turn, would cause them to fail most or all of their classes. Because of the Resource Center, I was able to give these students enough supplies for every class! The students in this situation last year had perfect attendance and all A’s, B’s, and C’s for the last 3 quarters of school!”

When families struggle financially, school supplies just can't be a priority. In 2018, we directly supported more than 6 million students with new supplies.

Support a Child

Our Network

    COVID-19 and how you can help

    The needs of the students we serve haven’t disappeared because their schools have closed, in fact, they’ve gotten more severe. Right now, millions of children across the U.S. are lacking the basic tools they need to continue their education at home.

    Join us today, and your contribution will help supply and ship the most crucial distance learning items out to our students. No one should be left behind when it comes to their education.