Back to School Generosity

by Laurel Way
Director of Communications

This time of year is bittersweet for many people. For some, it’s an exciting time to reconnect with friends and start classes again. For others, especially parents, it’s a time of changing schedules, saying goodbye to those who are going off to college, and a time to get in last-minute summer fun.

This time of year is also an opportunity for generosity, as many families across Arizona struggle to pay for school supplies and new clothing. According to a recent study, “(In Arizona) the cost of school supplies has risen nearly 24% in the past two years…” This has led to an average cost of $890 on school supplies every fall, leaving many families in a bind.

Fortunately, many Episcopal congregations across the state are participating in backpack and school supplies drives. Already we have seen a huge outpouring of donations and support. Just last week, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Payson provided new clothing for 37 families (97 children total!). While congregations such as Trinity Cathedral and St. Anthony on the Desert have each received over 100 backpacks filled with school supplies that will help students in need as they prepare for another school year. But the generosity still continues, as this Sunday Saint Barnabas, Scottsdale, and Saint Philip in the Hills, Tucson will be collecting supplies after their services to provide to all who need them. And these are just a few of the dozens of congregations that have come together to help their communities and families in need.

For those who are college-bound, school supplies can mean more than just pencils and paper. It can mean clothing, dorm supplies, food, and more. Going off to college can be scary, and many students feel alone and far away from the friends and family that have formed their support group all their lives. Fortunately for those students here in Arizona, we have some amazing campus ministries: LCM|Canterbury at Northern Arizona University, ECM at Arizona State University, ECM at the University of Arizona, and Beloved in the Desert in Tucson. These campus ministries provide students with the opportunity for fellowship and spiritual growth at a time in their lives that can feel stressful and overwhelming. They provide a source of stability and support in these trying times.

You can help support our campus ministries by donating HERE. Your support helps to provide a safe space for young adults to deepen their understanding and faith in Christ as they navigate this new chapter in their lives.

As the summer heat finally begins to fade (hopefully) let us all remember the example of charity and compassion set before us through Christ and his disciples.

Is your congregation collecting school supplies? Let us know in the comments below.

Some of the backpacks that were collected at Trinity Cathedral. Phoenix

2 comments on “Back to School Generosity”

  1. St. Stephen’s Sierra Vista, in coordination with Ms. Jacquie Clay, Superintendent of Cochise County Schools, adopted two rural elementary schools to provide the needed school supplies this year. The congregation gathered and donated paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, crayons, and markers.
    The donations filled a long countertop at church and filled the back of an SUV and back seat. Because the outlying schools don’t often benefit from school supply drives in larger towns, St. Stephen’s wanted to make a difference in places where it would be needed more.

  2. Christ the King in Tucson has participated in school supply drives for 15+ years. In 2016, at the suggestion of one of our members, we added a backpack drive. For 2023 we purchased 500 backpacks. The beneficiaries of our collections have been Aviva Children’s Services, a Subsidiary of Easterseals/Blake Foundation. In 2022, Aviva served 2000 children in Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties.

    Also, Christ the King yearly collects school supplies for Imago Dei Middle School, a low income Episcopal School and Treasurers for Teachers in Tucson.