Thousands of Pieces of Joy … July 26, 2012

Acquiring the required school supplies can make it impossible for some children to attend school in Cozumel.

Add 765 pencils; 1,224 pens; 3,672 crayons; 1,224 markers; 918 spiral notebooks; 22,950 sheets of unlined paper plus erasers, pencil bags and sharpeners, glue sticks, rulers, highlighters, compasses, geometry sets and backpacks. That equals 153 Cozumel children being able to attend school.

Throughout the year, we’ve gathered donated backpacks and school supplies that are required materials for children to attend school.  We feel pretty good about the fact that we’re helping families that find it cost-prohibitive to send their children to school—or have to make the difficult choice of which child to send if it’s not possible for all siblings to go.

Ilene and Sami sort donated school supplies.

It was joyful work today to sort the mountain of supplies into backpacks customized for each child according to gender, grade level and supply requirements. In fact, we had help from two “primeria” (primary school age) volunteers as well as some current teachers.

“I love seeing all these learning supplies,” said Lia who is a teacher in Ohio. “It just makes my heart glad.”

Additions to the backpacks this year are a new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste, thanks to Dr. Julie of Nebraska. Each student will also get the required pair of white athletic shoes, socks and underwear.

Getting enough children’s shoes is our biggest challenge—second only to process of getting a correct fit for each child’s foot. Can’t you just picture that process? If not, stay tuned for photos next week. And keep us in mind the next time you see a great pair of children’s shoes at an affordable price. We know exactly who needs them.—Phyllis

153 customized backpacks were prepared for distribution to children in Cozumel.

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