- Athletic shoes boys’ and girls’ youth sizes 10 through adult men’s and women’s size 10. Youth sizes needed begin size 10-13 then the numbers change to 1-5 that bridges into adult sizes. Youth size shoes 10-5 can be any color. Adult sizes 5-10 are needed in primarily white (small accent color OK). Male students can use adult sizes 5-10 in white or black (doubles as required black school uniform shoes).
- Glue sticks
- Pens—Black, blue and red needed
- Markers 8-12 count; thin or thick style
- Dry erase markers—prefer black
- Highlighters—Prefer yellow; other colors OK for high school and university
- Basic calculators
- Scientific calculators
- Spanish-English student dictionaries
Other back to school basics if you see a good deal: No. 2 lead pencils; glue sticks; crayons-24 count; scissors (blunt or point ends); 1” 3-ring binders for university students; toddler size shoes less than youth size 10. Boys’ and girls’ socks and underwear are given to selected students.
Tips for finding bargains from our school supply super shoppers:
- Fall is the best time to find backpacks at reduced prices in discount stores like Walmart and drugstores (Walgreens, CVS) because they clear out school inventory to feature holiday items. Talk to the manager and offer $2 or $3 each for backpacks.
- Walmart frequently has sales on athletic shoes for $3-$5.
- Dollar stores are great sources to find basic and scientific calculators. Check to ensure the batteries work. Some dollar stores and Big Lots have Spanish-English dictionaries for $1-$3.
- Check the sales bins of office supply stores for close-out deals.
- Menards and some farm supply stores also carry school supplies and offer end of the season closeouts.
- Online shoppers . . . There are great deals out there for buying in quantity. For example, we can order a case of 24 good quality backpacks for approximately $3-$4 each to drop ship to any US location. No shipping costs for Amazon prime members. Approximately 7-8 backpacks fit inside each other with the outside one zipped. So 3 or 4 cruisers could easily each bring one backpack full of other backpacks off a ship to deliver a case of 24 backpacks. When searching on Amazon.com – search for “bulk” items. For example, you can purchase a package of 50 blue pens for $5.79 or a box of 144 for approximately $11.00. Dollartree.com is an easy way to purchase a box of 24 basic calculators for $24 or the scientific calculators for $1 ea (min. of 4), a box of highlighters or dry erase markers. Dollardays.com USB drives are another great online deal when purchased in quantity (i.e. Amazon) and take up little space to transport.
- If you are flying to Cozumel, BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS and have them handy when you arrive to show Customs officials if requested.
~ The need – Attending a public school is “free”. However, families must furnish the learning supplies (very expensive to buy locally) plus purchase required uniforms and shoes. Families who can’t afford these expenses for all their school age children, may have to decide which children to send to school or what basic needs to go without (i.e. food, rent/utilities, health related expenses) to pay for school supplies. Supplies are only distributed to children “in need” identified by local pastors, Friends of Cozumel volunteers and other local leaders who have personal knowledge of family situations.
~ Our goal – Provide basic school supplies and athletic shoes required for physical education for 500 youth (kindergarten through college ages 4-18+).
~ Local businesses are supported through the purchase of most paper products and other items needed to supplement in-kind donations received.
~ Donations of cash or school supplies are accepted year-round in Cozumel or in the US by Friends of Cozumel volunteers in Iowa, Nebraska or Texas. School supplies are distributed in late July and early August.
This is an excellent project for families, cruise groups, schools, churches and civic groups.