We wanted to give back to our local families with this program, so we decided to raffle off six backpacks at the end of the month.
To enter, kids simply had to check out books, and then come to the children's desk. We gave them each a pencil to write their name on (practicing those literary skills!) and a raffle entry. We had 3 separate "groups" the backpacks were for: PreK, K-2nd, and 3rd-5th. This let us purchase the most common supplies on each school list for the grade range.
Do you all know how expensive school supplies are? I personally had no idea until we went on the purchasing run for all the items. Our caregivers told us over and over again how nice it was that there was even a possibility that they could win some free school supplies. My advice if you do something similar is to go school school in early July. We had parents offering us cash for the dry erase markers in the backpacks. Apparently the entire city was sold out!
Next year we will definitely modify this program. We're hoping to partner with a local organization to purchase more backpacks and school supplies to give away. We also think we will have a "Back to School Bash" where we raffle off the backpacks during a program, instead of a month long activity.
My absolute favorite moment came from one of our PreK winners. They are a loyal storytime family, and were extremely excited to be winners and get such a fun backpack. Later in the day, the mom called me to ask if we would mind if they donated the backpack to one of the local schools. She is a former teacher and remembered all of the kids who would show up for school without backpacks, and her little guys already had their own. Of course we said yes, and it made us so proud to call this family our patrons. We have some truly amazing people in our city.