Companies to Classrooms

Kars4Kids, like all nonprofit organizations has a mission and that mission is to help kids anyway we can. That’s why we have a small grant program, to lend a helping hand to likeminded organizations. So we were thrilled when Companies to Classrooms (C2C) reached out to us. This is how C2C described its work:

Companies to Classrooms links communities and schools by reusing business surplus as supplies for local classrooms. We collect donated reusable materials from businesses at our warehouse. Using volunteers we sort, clean and repair items, then stock our store area. Teachers visit our warehouse store and, for little or no charge, select items to enhance their classroom curriculum and to distribute to their students-in-need.

“We have been in operation since March 2006 and have redistributed over $3,000,000 worth of product into schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Currently, we touch the lives of over 36,000 students with plans to expand to more local school districts in the coming year. Fun Fact: We have provided 143,781 pencils to students in our community! That’s a lot of learning!”

Um. That’s a LOT of pencils.

This is an initiative you’ve got to love for its sense of community. Businesses in the community have things they don’t need. Students in the community have a need for those items. Happily, Cary Weatherby, Founder and Executive Director of Companies to Classrooms, had the brainstorm to marry the two.

How did it happen?

About ten years ago Cary Weatherby found herself using a pair of broken scissors while at her daughter’s elementary school. She couldn’t help but wonder if there weren’t something she could do about the school’s supply situation. Not long after she got a phone call from her husband’s office assistant. The company had thousands of self-sticking file labels they were about to throw out, and she was just wondering if the kindergarten teacher at Carey’s daughter’s school might not be able to use them.

As it turned out, she could. Also, she was ECSTATIC.

The rest, as they say, is history.

small grant from Kars4Kids
One happy teacher leaving the C2C warehouse with a cart full of stuff! (photo courtesy Companies to Classrooms)

When Cary sent in her application for a Kars4Kids small grant it rang all the right bells. It was easy to see that C2C was a source of pride to the community. It was a way for companies to take responsibility for the next generation by taking the simple extra step of sharing surplus office supplies with local school kids. Sure, it would be easier to toss the materials into a dumpster, but right inside the community were kids who needed and could benefit from those items.

That too, aligns well with the Kars4Kids mission of leaving the smallest footprint possible on this earth. Instead of adding to the landfill problem, these surplus office items are being repurposed within the classroom and helping kids to get an education. We love it.

Weatherby says that while the organization has been operating for around a decade, C2C has yet to develop a volunteer recognition program to reward the amazing people in the community who help with the nuts and bolts daily operation of C2C, for instance taking calls from companies, picking up surplus supplies, driving the truck, lifting heavy boxes, organizing the warehouse, accepting and sorting donations, stocking the store shelves, and working shifts in the store. In other words, it’s work.

But it’s the kind of work that makes you feel good, because you’re giving back to the community and to kids in particular. And we concur that these volunteers deserve some recognition.

We’re glad to have a hand in this shout-out to the C2C volunteers by way of this small grant from Kars4Kids. Way to go!