Every year our School Supply Drive gets bigger and bigger. Last year, as a result of this drive, 1,350 elementary and middle school aged children received a fully stocked backpack and extra materials were sent to local teachers. This year we reached a record setting 1,754! This is important for each child's experience on the first day of school but also for their families who are often struggling to keep food on the table or a roof over their head. It also helps our local teachers who often dip into their own pockets to supplement the needs they see in the classroom.
It Takes A Village
We are successful in organizing this event because individuals, local businesses and faith communities hold mini-drives and bring the resources to us for assembly.
Two of these longtime supporters are Swati Patel and her husband, Himanshu Karvir. They've organized donations among friends and family and, this year, they are doing the same among their professional colleagues within the hospitality industry. They also engage their two young children in the effort so we asked Swati to share a few thoughts about volunteering as a family:
The School Supply Drive is a wonderful way to have the entire family involved in giving back to the community. Our children know the importance of school supplies because they use them every day in their own classrooms. As we pack items in backpacks, Himanshu and I are able to explain the significance of these donations to the children who need and depend on them. The Drive is an important opportunity to have a conversation about the many ways we can help our greater community. Aakash and Janaki are eager every summer to help with this effort. Filling up backpacks with donated supplies gives them an appreciation for how essential these items are for success at school.
Our family tries to find ways to give back to our community throughout the year. But honestly, it’s the little things that really teach our kids how to think about others. We ask our children to always try to find ways to help people, even if it’s the simple act of holding a door open, or offering a hand to someone who has fallen down. Teaching our children to be good citizens every day is how we hope to encourage them to look for meaningful ways to help in the community and the world as they grow into young adults.
Join Swati and her family in support of our annual drive:
- Find School Supply lists, or donate directly to the drive here.
- Support the work of United Way, year round.
Swati Patel was raised in Asheville, North Carolina and has lived in the area since 1982. Swati earned her B.A. degree from Davidson College, and her M.P.H. from Emory University. After completing her Master’s, Swati worked for two years for Lucent Technologies in Chicago. She and her husband, Himanshu Karvir, decided to move back to Asheville in 2003 and join the family business of hospitality. Himanshu and Swati have supported United Way for the last 8 years.