Class Acts of Kindness: 6 Ways to Help Underprivileged Kids Get Ready for School

It's still the middle of summer, but it's not too early to think about heading back to school, with some schools starting up in mid to late August. Last year, the average parent with a K-5th grade student spent almost $100 on school supplies - a big chunk of change whatever your financial situation. In some families, kids don't have the ability to shop for snazzy new school supplies like a new backpack or a fresh pack of crayons, but many generous nonprofits and neighbors are stepping in to make sure these kids have what they need to learn. Many school supply drives run from mid-July to early August, so now's the time for you to take action.
Here are six ways you can help make the back-to-school season a little brighter for homeless and low-income kids, awesome teachers, and your local community.

1. Backpacks for the homeless
Many homeless shelters collect school supplies for children. In Colorado alone, one in fifty kids is homeless, and far too many are struggling to get geared up for school. The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless does more than just distribute supplies: they host a day-long fair with hearing and eye exams, hair cuts, plus new supplies. Here's how you can help.

Related: The 25 most awkward back-to-school photos...EVER

2. Find a Nonprofit to Support in Your Area
In Southern California, School on Wheels provides tutoring services, and needs help stocking backpacks for homeless children. In Illinois, the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation runs a school supply drive. Many school districts themselves collect supplies, like Boulder's Crayons to Calculators program.

3. Organize a School Supply Drive of Your Own
If you can't find a group to support in your area, you might want to organize a school supply drive of your own. The Hands On Network has a simple 11-step plan to do just that.

4. Support Hardworking Teachers
Through Donors Choose, you can find teachers across the country who need just a little help to make an awesome project happen, from creative art projects to much-need math materials. Donors Choose makes it easy to find a project that aligns with your interests.

5. Help Kids Play
How to help kids get out pent-up energy after a day sitting at a desk? Support after-school sports. If you have some gently-used sports gear, you can donate it to Sports Gift. The organization provides the donated equipment to athletes of all ages around the world.

6. Donate Online for School Supplies
The Kids in Need Foundation is a national nonprofit that served over 2 million kids last year. You can support their work through a donation made on their website. Or, use GoodSearch, and each online search will lead to a donation to the Kids in Need Foundation, or another charity of your choice.

-By Oz Spies

For 15 vintage back-to-school ads that should've been banned, visit Babble!

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