The summer satchels have been delivered to the second graders at Alps Road Elementary. The kids were so excited. I learned a lot, such as:

  1. Many second graders have nothing to read at home
  2. Even art is difficult at home, as many do not have paper, scissors, or crayons
  3. Fernando is spelled F-E-R-N-A-N-D-O
  4. Spiders have babies
  5. Teachers are surely angels come to earth

Here’s how the process played out.

First I collected art supplies and books from donors, then purchased more supplies at the Dollar Store, and more books at Salvation Army and Goodwill. The Niolon family donated many of the art supplies, and my sister’s coworkers at Foodbuy in Atlanta donated many of the books.

Here’s an example of what went into each bag: a couple of books, an art pad, crayons, a puzzle book, and some math flash cards. I had planned to use plastic grocery bags, but Mrs. Niolon came up with the festive bag you see below.

The finished product. So much better than a plastic grocery bag!

I underestimated the difficulty in transporting the bags. There wasn’t an inch of space left in my car.

The bags filled every table in the school library…

… and the kids came in, one classroom at a time. Their eyes lit up when they saw the fun bags, and I was soooo glad I hadn’t used the grocery sack. I’m choked up just writing about it.

The kids had all the energy and enthusiasm you’d expect from 2nd graders. But I was caught off guard by their openness. Some told me they don’t own a single book. Some asked if they could have more. Some asked “is this really mine? to keep???”

Class after class danced into the room, their eyes going straight to the bags. And I will admit it: I cried like an idiot and thanked the kids for allowing me the honor of giving them these bags.

It all started with one girl, making a comment to MK “I wish I had a book at my house”. That’s a situation that shouldn’t be allowed to continue. All it took was adopting the entire 2nd grade class. These are real kids with real potential. If this tiny bag keeps even one student reading over the summer, that’s one more student who’ll start 3rd grade ready for action.

A special thanks to Bird and the folks at Foodbuy – without your books, each child would have only received 1 book. You doubled that for these kids. Thank you!

Thanks also to Mom, who purchased about 1/4 of the books with a single $10 donation.

And finally, thank you to the Niolons. Your support was a wonderful gift not only to the kids, but to me.