Pencils, crayons, notebooks, Kleenex. These items - and much more - grace nearly every Iowa student’s back-to-school shopping list. While the prospect of shopping for school supplies can be exciting for many, for others it’s an expense out of their reach.
This back-to-school season a number of local REALTOR® associations across the state of Iowa stepped up to ensure that school supply shopping wasn’t a financial burden for their community members.
Whether collecting supplies or stuffing backpacks for local students, we are proud of the work our REALTORS® members have done to show their commitment to their communities.
The East Central Iowa Association of REALTORS® partnered with local brokerages for a little friendly competition via a backpack drive. The groups collected more than 645 backpacks for the St. Mark Youth Enrichment - Fill the Bag School Supply Program.
But they weren’t done with just the collecting! More than a dozen ECIAR members also volunteered to sort, and pack the school supplies.
“It all started out as a friendly competition between our local real estate offices called ‘We got your back’ which is a ECIAR fundraising initiative to see who can collect the most backpacks to donate to St. Mark's Youth Enrichment Fill the bag program,” Ashley Erschen, ECIAR community involvement chair, said. “This initiative turned into not only an overwhelming amount of bags collected, but an opportunity for agents to volunteer their time actually filling the backpacks with the school supplies collected from the community.”
“When we delivered the backpacks for the event, we found out that St. Mark’s had a funding shortfall to purchase enough school supplies. After a call to action to our REALTOR® community we were able to rally together to collect an overwhelming amount of money to help St Mark’s make some of these purchases.”
The Mid-Iowa Regional Board of REALTORS® gave where they live this summer by collecting school supplies for local students in need. REALTORS® in the area came together to shine a light on the importance of education and ensuring that each student in their community has the tools to succeed in the classroom.
“Collecting school supplies aligns with our values of social responsibility and community engagement and provides us with an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and families in our communities,” Marion Sharp, CEO for the Mid-Iowa Regional Board of REALTORS®, said.
This year the Board collected items in conjunction with other community organizations. The donated items were given to Schumacher Construction and used to stuff over 900 school bags.
The project was a true community effort. In fact another local REALTOR® member is a pastor at Mosaic Church. It was his church that donated the school bags, Sharp notes.
Southeast Iowa Regional Board of REALTORS also hit the ground this summer to collect school supplies and backpacks. The board worked with local councils to host drives around their communities. Together, Gary Lachapelle, SEIRBOR CEO, estimated the drives resulted in nearly $1,500 in supplies and donations for students.
The Fort Dodge Board of REALTORS® were out in the community in early August staffing a school supply drive at several locations in the area, including Rockwell City and Humboldt.
Nearly every agent in the community was involved in the effort, raising $1,800 and countless school and hygiene supplies for students in the area, said Gery Cook, Fort Dodge CEO.
“We know there is a big need, especially personal care products, in the community and for the students,” Cook said. “I think reaching out and being involved in the community gives REALTORS® a good name and a good vibe in our communities.”
As students prepare to head back to school in the next few weeks, we know the efforts of our REALTOR® members will be felt across the state.