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Class is Back in Session: Vistar Media Organizes School Supply Drive for Kids in Need Foundation



Aliana Heffernan

Last month, Vistar Media launched a company-wide initiative, partnering with the Kids in Need Foundation and their international affiliate, World Vision. Our goal was to help teachers, who were just kicking off their school year, with a three-week long fundraiser and supply drive. 

The Kids in Need Foundation reports that roughly 15 million kids live in poverty in the United States alone, and more than 30 million rely on federal nutrition programs (free and reduced-cost meals). However, these struggles are not unique to the U.S.:

  • An alarming 17% of Canadian children live in poverty, according to the 2016 census. In Toronto, the rate is even higher; it is the child poverty capital of Canada
  • Just a year ago – in 2018, it was reported that 4.1 million children in the United Kingdom are living in relative poverty, accounting for more than 30% of children in the country
  • And a University of Melbourne study found that child poverty rates among single-parent families hit 19.2% in 2017, the highest rate since the global financial crisis

For these students, school supplies are a luxury. Many arrive to class without a single pencil or notebook, unable to participate in day-to-day classroom activities. Teachers often attempt to close the gap by purchasing supplies with their own money, but teachers can only do so much. 

Between Monday, September 2nd and Friday, September 20th, 2019, Vistar's employees collected over $1.7k in monetary and physical donations, including: 

• 2 Three-Ring Binders • 13 Packs of Erasers • 16 Rolls of Tape
• 3 Packs of Dividers • 10 Pairs of Scissors • 1 Mini Stapler
• 48 Pencil Bags • 18 Boxes of #2 Pencils • 7 One-foot Rulers
• 1 Pencil Case • 6 Boxes of Highlighters • 2 Protractors
• 53 Notebooks • 2 Cases of Pens • 3 Calculators
• 6 Packs of Index Cards • 10 Boxes of Markers • 7 Backpacks
• 33 Sticks of Glue • 4 Bottles of Glue • 13 Boxes of Crayons
• 2 Packs of Graphing Paper • 2 Cases of Hand Sanitizer • 8 Containers of Disinfectant Wipes
• 2 Packs of Construction Paper • 2 Packs of Loose-Leaf Paper • 6 Packs of Mechanical Pencils

Our contribution may have only made a small dent in this larger issue, but we were more than happy to support the students who would benefit from the Kids in Need Foundation’s work. 

Vistar also took the supply drive as an opportunity to act on one of our Core Values – that as individuals and as a company:

We strive for expertise through a constant and rigorous pursuit of knowledge. We are curious about everything; to satisfy that curiosity, we become experts in our fields and look for new ways to add value to our peers and clients.

By providing supplies to schools in need, we hope to promote students’ desire to engage in learning and help them down the path that led each of us to where we are fortunate enough to be today. 

Inspired by her mother’s work as an educator, event co-organizer Natalie Wisener shared her connection to this initiative and her excitement for its success.

"I was blown away by the amount of individual support we received. I come from a family of educators and see the classroom as more than a space for learning but a space for exploration, experimentation, and personal evolution. Knowing Vistar's company-wide commitment to continued education, my co-organizer Alaina Marks, and I felt a school supply drive was something most staff could get behind. We designed this event to reach our team globally by partnering with charities in every country. After all, the pursuit of knowledge is universal, and there is a need for support in every region."

Inspired to get involved? Click here to learn more about the Kids in Need Foundation.

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