Your LWR School Kit Questions Answered

This time of year many congregations are showing their love for their global neighbors by preparing School Kits to donate to LWR. We thank you for your generosity and compassion!
As you prepare your School Kits, we thought we’d share the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about this resource. If you have a question that isn’t covered here, feel free to leave it in the comments or email us at @email.

a backpack filled with school supplies

Why does LWR ask for drawstring bags instead of totes?

As LWR seeks to walk with communities living in poverty, we recently talked to recipients to learn how they use materials like School Kits to ensure what we provide is truly helpful. As a result of these conversations, we decided to use backpack-style bags for several reasons. They are easier on growing backs and allow students to carry their school supplies hands free, allowing them to help with a younger sibling or to help a parent carry wares to market on the way to school. Since the bags cinch shut, they do a better job keeping out dust or dampness, and keeping in supplies and school work.

I notice the guidelines say no patriotic symbols. The crayon boxes we buy have an American flag on the back. Should we cover that?

We’re so appreciative that you notice that flag and ask about this! In this case, since the symbol is quite small and really only there to indicate where the crayons were made, it’s fine to leave it as is. The place to watch for symbols would be on the bag fabric, notebook cover designs or fancy pencil designs – anything intentionally designed with a patriotic theme is what we need to avoid.

Is it ok to add a few extra pens/pencils/notebooks to bags if we receive extra?

This comes from a very generous place, but please don’t include extra supplies in any Kits. It’s important for consistency that each Kit have the same contents. When School Kits are consistent they help preserve the dignity of the recipients by treating all recipients equitably. If you have extras, consider holding on to them for your next School Kit project, or share them with a local shelter or school.

We’ve had a hard time finding unsharpened pencils. Can we include sharpened ones?

Sharpened pencils will nearly always break, mark up the inside of bags and the covers of the notebooks, and sometimes even poke through the fabric of the bags, damaging them and posing a hazard to people handling the Kits. We thank you for including only unsharpened pencils!

What kind of pens work best in School Kits?

Ballpoint pens work best. When purchasing pens consider spending a few more cents over the very cheapest ones to help ensure that the pens won’t dry out too quickly.

Here are a few extra tidbits that aren’t technically questions, but still great information to know:

  • Here’s a short video with a few simple tips and tricks about assembling and packing your School Kits.
  • Did you know you have an extra opportunity to support people living in poverty around the world with your School Kits? It’s true! Click here to learn how to purchase Fair Trade backpacks, which meet LWR guidelines and help people around the world earn income.
  • Lastly, do you ever wonder where your School Kits go? Now you can find out! By using the LWR Quilt & Kit Tracker and following a few simple steps, you can get a notification of where your School Kits and other donated items go, and learn about the people they reach. Give it a try!

On behalf of all of us at LWR, as well as children around the world who are able to better participate in school because of your gifts – thank you once again!