The Right Tools
For 26 years, BCBSNM employees have delivered school supplies to low-income elementary students in New Mexico.
Remember the smell of a new box of crayons on the first day of school? Bet you counted yourself lucky if you had the big 64-count box with the built-in sharpener!
Many elementary students in New Mexico will not have these memories because there simply isn’t money in the family budget to have new school supplies every year. Sometimes there isn’t even enough money for notebook paper and pencils. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) employees know that having the right school supplies makes all the difference for a better academic year for any child.
For 26 years, our employees have been the driving force in Operation Back to School (OBTS), by collecting and donating school supplies for at-risk elementary students around the state. This year was no exception. Employees collected more than 22,000 supplies, worth more than $11,000, and made special deliveries to 16 schools in Albuquerque and southern New Mexico.
“School can be hard when you don’t have the right school supplies to learn,” shared Renee Harrington, BCBSNM team leader for OBTS. “Many families can’t afford the entire list of supplies and have to rely on teachers or the school to provide for the students. That is where our supply drive can help.”
“It is rewarding seeing how happy the children, teachers and the schools are when we deliver crates of school supplies to them.”
This is the sentiment of many BCBSNM employees, so they go into overdrive during the summer to raise money to buy school supplies. This may mean bake sales, salsa sales, salad bar luncheons and many other creative ways to raise the needed funds. It also means shopping back-to-school sales on the weekend to stretch the donated dollars to buy more supplies. Besides raising money and shopping, our employees take their personal time to help deliver supplies to the selected schools to ensure that children start their school year off right.
“BCBSNM employees know it is important for every child to have their own box of brand new crayons and sharpened pencils when they start their school year. It makes a difference to the school, it makes a difference to the teachers, but most of all, it makes a difference to the students. “