Stuff The Bus and Start the School Year Off Right

Hi all, and welcome to my first post on Living with Love and Cents. I’m a transplanted New Englander, and my husband and I are raising our children, Alex (7) and Harper (4) in Destin Florida. We also have a recent college graduate, Shane’s daughter Jennings, living with us before she starts graduate school. My current generosity struggle is teaching my children about gratitude and that there isn’t always “more”. I’m hoping that in this space, I can explore ways to increase awareness about gerenroisity and what that really means for families on both the giving and receiving end of the exchange.  I look forward to hearing about the challenges and successes from the Love and Cents community and identify new, innovative ways to give on a budget

In Northwest Florida, summer vacation is more than half way complete. My kids start back to school the second week in August, and neighboring communities start shortly after that.  While I’m still stocking up on plenty of sunscreen, I’m keeping an eye on the back to school sales, knowing that there will be plenty of notebook, pens, pencils, crayons, and glue stick purchases in my near future. These expenses add up quickly. For families struggling to make ends meet, buying school supplies can be a budget busting expense and they know their kids will start the year without the appropriate supplies. Many community organizations (especially the United Way) and local churches sponsor a “Stuff The Bus” event, which encourages residents to pick up extra school supplies while they are out shopping and donate to a central location. Shoppers can donate anything from a pack of crayons to a back pack filled with everything the student will need to start the year off on the right foot.

Alex, Harper and I will make our contribution to the local “Stuff the Bus” campaign during Florida’s tax free shopping weekend. Instead of putting the tax savings back in my pocket, we’ll use it to make sure some of Alex’s classmates have the supplies they need to succeed. In the past, I have done the back to school shopping on my own, feeling that I could get more done in less time than if I went with my entourage. This year, I plan on bringing Alex and Harper and asking them to help select the supplies we donate, in the hopes of beginning a dialogue about giving.

Susan Moody is a free lance writer and blogger.  She highlights the best of beach living as the Emerald Coast Insider and as a co-writer of Sand Castles and Sippy Cups.