I have spent a good amount of time researching what to include in the backpacks. I have also struggled with whether or not to purchase the items in the U.S. and ship to Haiti (shipping and customs????) or buy the items in country. I have determined that I can get more for my money by purchasing them here and shipping them there. Assuming all goes well with my first shipment, that will be the route I continue to take, but you never know what will happen!
I have learned a lot from speaking with people that are already “in the trenches”. My initial idea was to have the backpack contain enough school supplies to last one school year. I have since found out that, while it’s a noble idea, it’s not practical. I did not take into account the living conditions in Haiti. The fact of the matter is many of the children that I hope to help live in tents and/or shacks that are not secure. The backpacks could be stolen, they could be sold for money to feed the family, they could be eaten on by rats and they could be ruined, damaged or swept away by rain water (which is a common occurrence in Haiti because the homes are not secure) . That said, I am still 100% committed to the need and desire to provide them to children that need them the most. However, I have scaled down the contents a bit.
Each will contain:
1 – Backpack
1 – Hand pencil sharpener
1 – 24 count crayons
2 – 100 count composition notebooks
1 – 12 pack of pencils
1 – pencil bag
1 – eraser
1 – 10 pack of pens
1 – 12″ ruler
I am partnering with a supplier in the U.S. that will even assemble the backpacks for me per my specifications! A complete backpack with all of the above supplies will only cost $25.00! (I spend more on a backpack alone for my daughter!) Each full-size backpack measures 16.50″H x 13.125″W x 8.25″D. They have one large top loading compartment with double zippers, two front zipper pockets and one velcro pocket. I am so happy to have found them!
My goal is to raise enough funds to purchase 150 backpacks to give to the children that Frantz (Future for the Kids) works with. It looks like my trip will take place in May, so I don’t have a lot of time to achieve this goal. I am hoping to have my fundraising campaign up and running by February 28 at the latest. Meanwhile, I am still collecting donations of new and gently used children’s clothing and shoes to take with me as well. If my fundraising surpasses my goal, I have many more ideas and many more children that are in need of help! There is chalk and chalkboard erasers to buy for the classrooms, art and craft supplies such as markers, colored pencils, construction paper, scissors, etc. (I have set up an Amazon Wish List for these. Search “Be The Hope, Inc.” under Wish List.) soccer balls, and I would LOVE to be able to purchase a portable library of books for one school. Lofty goals, I know!