the back-to-school supply list

school supplies

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

August 20, 2011

school supplies

[serialposts]My son starts school in the third grade this week. That means we’re checking our lists to make sure that he has everything he needs. I was looking at the supply list from his school, and thinking about the things he’s required to bring. This is the list for his grade level from the school’s website…

  • 4 Solid Colored Plastic Folders with Prongs and Pockets – Blue, Red, Green, Yellow
  • 1 Box Self-Seal Plastic Bags, Girls bring Quart – Boys Bring Gallon
  • 2 Packages 100/200 Wide-Ruled Notebook Paper
  • 1 Pair of Scissors (5″ or 6″)
  • 1 Pencil Pouch
  • 60 Yellow #2 Pencils, *Sharpened*
  • 1 Box of 24 Crayons OR 1 Box of Colored Pencils
  • 2 Glue Sticks
  • 2 Boxes of Tissues
  • 1 Blue Plastic Folder for Music
  • Girls Bring Anti-Bacterial Wet Wipes – Boys Bring Hand Sanitizer

Additional expenses may be incurred throughout the year.

When my wife and I looked at this list, one of our first reactions was… “60 PENCILS? Really? What in the world are they going to do with 60 pencils?”

But I guess if us bringing 60 pencils means that some other kid whose family can’t afford it gets a pencil when he or she needs it, then I’m okay with that.

And this all made me think about what my friend Dan Ohlerking is doing right now.

Dan works with an organization called Children’s Cup, and they’re working to get kids in Swaziland, Africa the education they need. And as you might guess, one of the needs there is school supplies. This short video shares a little about what they’re doing and why.

[vimeo 24482617 nolink]

My family is jumping into this challenge and we’re starting by filling a couple of backpacks. I wish you could have seen my son’s eyes light up when I asked him if he wanted to do this! And there are other ways you can serve this great cause. The details for this Back-to-School Project can be found on the Children’s Cup website.

I’ll share more over the coming weks about what my family is doing to support this project, and I plan to get a little video interview with Dan Ohlerking because I’d love for you to see his passion for the work the work they’re doing in Swaziland. It’s seriously contagious!

But I’d also love to hear your stories about supporting this or other causes that make sure kids around the world (or right here in the United States) get the education they need. Please share your thoughts in the comments, or let me know if you’d like to write a guest post here about a worthy cause related to education.

I just pray that our generation is one that makes education for everyone around the world a priority. And I pray for the children who are blessed by the work of Children’s Cup and other organizations like them. Lord, bless those who labor that others won’t suffer from the bondage of poverty. Amen.


  1. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    60 pencils allows for lots of lost pencils over the course of a year 🙂

    I’m going to be wondering why the girls bring one size of zip loc bags and the boys, another. I’m guessing they, along with the tissues and anti-bac products, are used by the class as a group, rather than by the individual student? Interesting.

    • @bibledude

      Yeah… I think that there are lots of the supplies that are used by the whole class rather than the individual. But the 60 pencils is a lot when I think about the kids that are lucky to get one or two… 


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the back-to-school supply list

by Dan King time to read: 2 min