The fabulous, prolific! Joni from Cote de Texas turned me on to this great organization, DonorsChoose.org. Teachers from public schools all over the country send in requests for everything from essential items such as writing paper and pencil sharpeners to art supplies for teachers who are only allotted $50/year (see what Joni did) to supplies to create an entire library, the list is endless.
You can select a state and a school, the cost of an item or project or the type of project you'd be interested in helping to fulfill such as science or art. You can donate any amount or fulfill the entire project. The great thing is that DonorsChoose.org buys the item (it has already negotiated the best price and determined related fees such as shipping) and sends the item directly to the teacher who requested it. I love it. They also send a disposable camera so the kids affected by your generosity can take pictures which are developed and sent to you along with thank you notes written by the kids. Now, I don't require that level of thanks for my gifts but it's so great to be able to see what your donation was actually used for.
Anyway, I am always looking for ways to help out locally and this organization provides the opportunity to help out kids in areas that don't receive enough governmental support (another topic in itself). Check it out. If you like, donate something. Next year, I would like to sponsor a project through my blog for Blogger's Challenge '09. I am late to the party for '08 but I did go to the site and donate a cash register so a local school could open a school store which many kids will use to create the store (through an entrepreneurship class), order, market and sell the merchandise, track inventory, audit the register and use the experience to get jobs in retail. I encourage you to go take a look at the wide variety of opportunities to give to teachers whose kids who will really benefit from your generosity.