Top 10 School Supply Needs for 2018—October 25, 2017

We’re often asked “What school supplies are needed?”  Our goal for 2018 is to provide 500 students with backpacks, supplies and athletic shoes.  Extra donations will be used to expand our list or for “basic school supply packets” like the 175 additional students we benefitted this past summer who may not be on our Friends of Cozumel school distribution list.

As of Oct 23 we have 185 backpacks on hand – 315 more to go!

Here are the 10 highest priority needs for the next 8 months November – June.  We will update this list throughout the year as we receive donations.


  1. Backpacks—all sizes (small, medium and large)
  2. 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).
  3. Pencil sharpeners—good quality with catcher for pencil shavings
  4. Pens—Black, blue and red needed
  5. Markers 8-12 count; thin or thick style
  6. Dry erase markers—prefer black
  7. Highlighters—Prefer yellow; other colors OK for high school and university
  8. Basic calculators
  9. Scientific calculators
  10. 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); USB drives of any size; 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.


Volunteer Ilene (left) earned a smile by fitting this student in sparkly shoes.

These girls are thrilled that they have the necessary supplies to attend school.











Tips for finding bargains from our school supply super shoppers: 

  • Now in the 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. 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.  USB drives are another great online deal when purchased in quantity 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.

Karen and Larry in Cozumel


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