Kids in Need Foundation
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Sadly every year, from one end of the country to the other, natural disasters devastate U.S. schools and the communities they serve.
Shaken by the havoc that hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, wildfires, and tornadoes create, children are often cruelly impacted by the sudden, devastating changes that force them and their families to begin again at square one. Being forced to start over—to replace all of a family’s personal belongings—is intense and traumatic.
So when Baton Rouge was recently inundated with floodwaters, Scholastic Book Fairs quickly teamed up with the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF) to get books into the hands of the students most heavily impacted by the disaster.
A nonprofit that provides free school supplies to underserved students across the nation, KINF offers a network of teacher stores across the country where educators at Title-1 schools can shop (cost-free) for school supplies for their students and classrooms. For the past five years, Scholastic has donated books to stock KINF’s stores.
But just recently, KINF spearheaded a Second Responder Program to provide free, school-supplies-filled backpacks to students critically affected by natural disasters. Second Responders are tasked with operating during the recovery period following a natural disaster (that is, after First Responders—police, firefighters, paramedics, and others—have left the scene). KINF’s Second Responders work with local authorities, schools, and select sponsors to help students return to normal routines as quickly as possible following a catastrophic event.
On September 27 KINF held a free backpack/school supplies distribution event to help students from two heavily-damaged Baton Rouge school districts. For this event, Scholastic donated 5,000 new books destined for backpacks to help students begin to recover what they lost in the flooding.
Although a backpack filled with school supplies and new books might appear trivial when compared to how much more was lost in the flooding, based on the smiles that were in evidence that day, most of the approximately 2,300 students who came away from the event with renewed hope and a sense of community partnership, compassion, and empathy would tell you they feel quite differently.
The donation of 5,000 books to Kids in Need Foundation was made through Scholastic’s All for Books program and the Scholastic Possible Fund, which was established as part of the company's Open a World of Possible reading initiative to provide donations of quality books to children in underserved communities.