This post is sponsored by Officeworks.
I called into Officeworks last week with Miss 8 & Master 4 to collect their school supplies, which I ordered online a few weeks back…boy it was BUSY in-store with excited kids and shopping trolleys filled with books, crayons and everything in-between! I love that I could get everything I needed in one stop! You can shop in-store and online, I simply scanned my school list and picked it up in-store (shout out to the staff & store manager John in the Maroochydore store, so happy and helpful!!).
Watching the parents and families shop brought back so many memories from my own childhood. I grew up in Cairns (Tropical North Queensland) and it was always a major event to go shopping for everything we needed. I remember driving from shop to shop in our old station wagon, the windows all the way down to help relieve the stifling heat (if only we had aircon back in those days!). I remember the first few years of primary school, the smell of brand new crayons and the bright shiny new pencils that were sharpened to perfection…I was so excited to head to school with all my brand new learning tools. Little did I know that the following years would be somewhat different once my parents divorced.
We moved house and I changed schools, this was a really tough year for all of us (for many different reasons). My (now single) Mum was desperately trying to start fresh with one primary and one high school aged child, on a single income. I remember sorting through racks and racks of used school uniforms with her, trying to find the best and newest looking. I also remember overhearing her talking to my Dad on the phone, begging him to help her pay for our school shoes. I remember Mum covering our books with brown paper bags and encouraging us to cut up old magazine pictures to make them more fun. I remember her taking time to clean up my coloured pencils and resharpening them for another school year as well as taking care of our backpacks and pencil cases so they wouldn’t need to be replaced. I know it broke her heart when she couldn’t afford a science calculator for my brother (they were very expensive back in the day). I know the school gave him a loan one until Mum could afford to replace it but it was tough for her to think that my brother would be disadvantaged in class without owning one.
I remember feeling jealous of other kids with all their brand new school supplies, I also remember knowing that I wasn’t the only child feeling this way. I remember a lot of kids who didn’t have everything they needed for school. I remember crying because I couldn’t attend a school excursion to the reef because we simply couldn’t afford it.
Don’t get me wrong, my childhood was magical. My Mum was so much FUN and despite our financial burden we were always cared for, happy and LOVED.
It only took a couple of years for my Mum to land on her feet again, year by year our finances became less of a burden, by high school I was back to having some brand new school supplies, which I had a new found appreciation for.
So when Officeworks approached us to help spread awareness for their Back to School Appeal I was more than happy! They’ve joined forces again this year with The Smith Family to raise money to support the one in seven Aussie children living in disadvantaged families. The 2016 Appeal raised more than $100,000 for The Smith Family, through the sale of stationery shaped donation cards.
I’m blessed to be able to afford all our back to school supplies this year but I know firsthand how quickly circumstances change. We’ve decided to donate the same amount of money for Master 4’s prep supplies in the hopes that another student about to start their schooling year can, like my own son, experience the smell of brand new crayons and the excitement of shiny new pencils.
If you’re in a financial position to help I encourage you to donate too. You can donate in-store by purchasing a donation card or online here. All donations are tax deductible and it’s a great way to share an act of kindness with your children. I’ve shared my story with my daughter and she will be helping me donate in-store this week, knowing that we will be helping a child in need (just like her own Mum was at one stage of her schooling life) feels good.