A month or so ago, I got a call at school from a donor (who wishes to remain anonymous). She had received an abundance of trinkets - radios with headphones, carabiner-compass-keychains - a retailer's overstock merchandise. She also had a few boxes of brand-new lunchbags. And she didn't know what to do with them, so she called me.
Now, typically, I wouldn't know what to do with this random collection of items either. I nearly turned her down. And then I knew exactly what we would do!
We'd recently begun hosting an afterschool student office intern through Howard Area Community Center's youth services program. In addition to office sites like ours, the HACC program also works with student after-school programs in local elementary schools. This unexpected donation would be doubly-purposed. First, our students would assemble the packages - putting one of each item in a lunch bag (a perfect vocational project!). Then, they would deliver them to the HACC office, to be shared with local elementary-school students (a perfect way to share our gifts!). A few quick emails to our contacts at HACC, and it was set.
PACTT students delivered the packages to the offices at HACC Wednesday morning, the last day before Winter Break. Thanks to our anonymous donor and the folks at Howard Area, we were able to turn unwanted overstock into vocational AND community service opportunities for our students. We are twice gifted!