The wee ones went back to school last week, and I know how hard the teachers at our school work. I’m married to a teacher, and our principal pushes our teachers harder than anyone. As a parent I love it, but I don’t know how much I’d enjoy working for her (much as I truly adore her as a person and principal). When I was looking for a fun (but not super expensive) way to thank them in advance for all the hard work they are going to do, I knew exactly what to get. I put together a Labels for Education gift basket for each of the wee ones’ teachers, and it was a huge hit.
I’m heavily involved in the PTO – I’m actually president this year – and I’ve seen how so many programs can have a positive impact on our kids and teachers. We talked on Monday to our new kindergarten parents about how we try to find ways to support the staff and students without constantly asking them to buy things as fundraisers. Campbell’s Labels for Education is the perfect example of the kind of thing we love to participate in. We all buy the products anyway since there is everything from V8 to Bic to Swanson’s Broth to Prego and more that participate. All we need is parents to send in the labels, and we earn points towards so many things. There are over 2,500 products that have Labels for Education to clip. Score.
When I was doing my regular grocery shopping at Walmart last week, I simply added a few extra items to my shopping cart to create a themed basket to send with the wee ones that benefits the teacher because of the gifts and the school when they clip out the labels. I had so much fun trying to decide what to send in. Soup was a no brainer since our teachers are at school all the time. Whenever I drive past the parking lot – no matter what day or time – there are always teacher cars in the parking lot. Making sure they’re well fed is definitely a goal. I love that the Labels for Education website also offers coupons to make these items even more affordable.
Last year, Mister Man’s teacher had a brilliant idea where each child was given a mechanical pencil that was attached to their desks. No more getting up to sharpen pencils 20 times a day. No more lost pencils either. I’m a huge fan of this concept and decided to supply pencils for this year’s teacher, too – especially since I know that my children tend to go through pencils faster than most kids. The toughest decision for me was whether to buy the pencils that promote good penmanship or the ones that don’t break as easily. I finally figured it out once I realized how often my kids have to sharpen their pencils because they’ve broken the lead.
The rest of the basket was just as fun. Drinks had to go in, and V8 Fusion has veggies and fruits, just what they need to keep energized over the school day. On those long days and nights grading? Of course they need popcorn, and the Pop Secret microwave popcorn is single serving size so they can make just enough for them. The same goes for cookies because we always need cookies, right? Lastly, highlighters went into the basket, too. My husband is constantly losing or running out of highlighters, and I’m guessing he isn’t alone. Rather than having our teachers have to buy more out of their own pockets, I’m helping to provide some for them!
It was so much fun to make this basket knowing that it would benefit the teacher and our school. In the past, we’ve used our points to purchase balls for the playground. We’ve bought paint for our art teacher. We’ve replaced the stapler in the copy room. More than once. The items cost anywhere from 1,000 to 6,000 points, depending on what we’re looking to purchase. These answer buzzers, for example, are 1,450 points. It sounds like a lot, but it’s amazing how quickly this adds up.
Each item is worth anywhere from one to ten points. The soups I bought for the teachers? 5 easy points each. The popcorn? 10 points. Cookies? 1 point. The point total just from the few items I bought for this teacher basket adds up to 33 points. From one purchase from one person.
Imagine what happens when more families contribute. We have over 350 families in our school. That one purchase by each of our families? That’s almost 10,000 points right there. And think about how many people buy snacks for their kids every day and juices every day and yogurt and pens and soup and more. Think about how quickly we – or any school – could really earn some huge points. That doesn’t even count all the bonus offers that are provided throughout the year.
I can’t wait to see what we buy this year. It’s so easy to collect the points. In fact, I have the wee ones cut them out for me. I figure it’s good fine motor practice, and we know they can use all the OT skills they can get. Plus, they see it as helping their school, and that makes them proud.
And pride? With this basket we brought to our teachers, that word doesn’t even begin to express how the wee ones felt. The loved having something tangible to bring to their teachers this year, and their teachers were pretty happy themselves, too. Who wouldn’t be to get a lovely basket like this and know that it’s a gift that keeps on giving?
Even better, right now Labels for Education has a sweepstakes running. And I know I’m spreading the word about it at my school. 1,000 schools will each win $1,000. From now to December 31, 2014, you can enter via the sweepstakes website and also send in participating labels and caps for your LFE school coordinator to be submitted. Each eligible label and cap is another entry to the sweepstakes. I know what our school would spend $1,000 on. What would yours?