They chose to specifically purchase items that were the most popular so their teenage recipients would fit in with the other students at school. After retiring, JoAnne and Greg embraced their different schedules and for some reason supporting Family Giving Tree’s Back-to-School Drive fell by the wayside.
Fast forward to 2017. Joanne saw an NBC public service announcement featuring the Minions encouraging viewers to support their national Supporting Our School campaign through Family Giving Tree. She wondered if it was the same program she and Greg supported for so many years through he hospital, and then it clicked - it was indeed! Joanne immediately went to Family Giving Tree’s web site to get more information and discovered she could download a backpack tag right then and there. They selected one boy and one girl in the same grade level as their two grandchildren who would soon be visiting for the summer and could help with the shopping.
The grandchildren arrived and loved the idea of helping a child their own age. Unaware of the great need, it was also a great learning experience for them. They especially liked the “Extra Credit” Bonus if they included a book in the backpack because it meant they could go to their favorite book store and pick one out. And who doesn’t like extra credit!
The next day they went shopping for the BTS items that were listed on the back of the backpack tag. It was especially heart-warming for the Kemists as they were able to share their philanthropic desire to help others with their grandchildren. They enjoyed watching their excitement as they bought supplies that they themselves would like to receive for school.
After the excursion, they filled the backpacks and again looked on the FGT web site to see where they could drop off their donations. They could have dropped them off at one of the companies offering backpack tags and serving as a collection site–like the hospital–but they realized how close they were to the warehouse so they headed off for yet another new experience with the grandchildren.
After dropping off the backpacks, and touring the warehouse, that by this time was full of thousands of backpacks, JoAnne and Greg decided that they could do more to help children in need. Then and there they made a commitment to gather school supplies throughout the year so next summer when they came back with their grandchildren they could drop off their truck-load of supplies as well.
The great take-away for the grandkids? Their “What I did over summer vacation” stories would be amazing.