UPDATE: DW’s Inaugural “Sponsor a Class for the Holidays”

UPDATE: In just over an hour after this post was published, all requested books for the students were purchased! Thanks, everyone! You all are awesome.

Yesterday, a DW reader named Carrie, who’s a teacher in New Orleans, reached out to me about getting help buying books for her students this holiday season. I suggested she create a gift registry on Amazon, send me the permalink, and I’d share it with you. Here’s her message:

“I am a reading teacher at an urban elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our school has a 97% free- or reduced-lunch population. I work with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders who are behind grade level on reading. I absolutely love these kids, and know that many of them will not be getting the Christmases they hope for. Though books may not be exactly what they’re envisioning under their trees, I think it would be a good gift for them to receive. I know my students quite well, and am aiming to give an on-their-reading-level book to each of my students that plays to their interests so that they can have a book at home, one that is theirs to look at forever, and one that they won’t find boring/tedious. I know many of my students do not come from households that have books lying around and do not read with their parents at bedtime (or any other time) so I think this would be a nice introduction into the world of books-as-fun instead of books-as-school.”

If you feel inclined and have a little extra money this year, please visit Carrie’s registry and consider purchasing a book (or two or three) for her students. She’ll make sure the books go to the students before they leave for their holiday break next Friday. Thank you!!

(If this goes well, maybe we can make this an annual thing where we sponsor a class in a low-income area during the holidays, helping the kids each get at least one gift.).


  1. Done 🙂 I bought 6 books for the kids! Hope they get there in time for Christmas!

  2. lets_be_honest says:

    I have most of these books! We just went through my kid’s bookshelf to get rid of things she’s read and won’t read again, so now we have a stack of books in great condition to give away. I love the idea of the registry, but I’m thinking I will try to find a school nearby that needs the books I already have. Thanks for the idea. I will try to buy a few through the registry as well.

  3. Just bought 2! What a great idea! It’s so nice to be able to help out people in our own little DW Community!

  4. kerrycontrary says:

    Just bought 2. It breaks my heart that children come from homes where parents don’t read to them. One of my teacher friends just told me that she taught kindergarteners who didn’t know any shapes or colors 🙁

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Also, Thank you Wendy for creating these awesome giving opportunities. This has really been a “season of giving” for me and it feels wonderful!

  5. Done. I ordered 2 small ones and 1 big one.

  6. Avatar photo BriarRose says:

    Love this idea! I found out this morning that I had an unexpected $25 credit to my credit card, so I think this was quite serendipitous.

  7. Awww, I love this idea! I hope these kids enjoy the books. <3

  8. I had no doubt you all would come through. You’re awesome! Maybe next year we should sponsor *several* classes!

    1. theattack says:

      Instead of sponsoring just several classes, would you consider doing several similar causes? I’m running the Angel Tree program for five impoverished rural counties, and we’re down to the wire on getting kids the presents, but we don’t have enough sponsors. These are the neediest of all the severely abused children in my area, and they are in so much need that they wished for things like deodorant, toothbrushes, and underwear for Christmas. It’s pretty much too late to do something like this for my kids this year, because we need the stuff too soon, but I would really like to participate in this next year since our need is overwhelming, and there are not very many people in my area who can afford to help these children.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Is it really too late?

      2. theattack says:

        Well we’re giving the gifts to the kids this Saturday at our Christmas party, so I’m assuming things couldn’t possibly ship here in time. That’s the only real problem. My boss is trying to scrape up some money to go shopping for the kids who don’t have sponsors.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        If you can figure out a way, I’d be happy to. I don’t mind paying for fast shipping. Actually, I think Amazon is always 2 days, but I could be wrong.

      4. Could we set up a paypal donation and then you could go out and actually pick up the items? You might have time with that.

      5. theattack says:

        That’s a really good idea. I’m not sure how I would do that, but if it’s okay with Wendy, I’ll check with my boss on how much money we still need and see if she’s interested. Thanks for the idea!

      6. Yes, I’d be happy to accept donations via my Paypal account and send the collection to the attack (and next year, let’s talk about setting up a sponsorship ahead of time! ).

      7. theattack says:

        Thanks, Wendy! You’re the best! I’ll get back to you with information as soon as possible (hopefully today). The lady that’s co-running it with me left the office on a shopping trip with the list of kids, so I’m not sure what we still have left at the moment. I’ll email you when she comes back with the info.

      8. It’s enough to make me cry to think that the little ones aren’t even thinking of toys. How many kids are there?

      9. theattack says:

        We’re serving about 75 children total for Christmas, but I’m not sure how many don’t have sponsors at the moment. A coworker ran off with our list, but I’ll find out when she gets back. Luckily we have some soaps that we always keep in stock for our clients who come in with nothing, but we want everyone to have a couple of toys too, ya know?

      10. I’m in to make that happen.

      11. Well, you know that there is a huge need, right? So if people sent money, you’d put it to use, correct? It seems like there’s a desire to help, help is needed and time is of the essence, so we could go ahead and start a donation drive and trust that you would put the collection to good use. What do you think? I’m willing to collect the $ through paypal, but you need to have a paypal account yourself that I can sent the collection to and you need to be willing to do the shopping. Let me know.

        Kids should have more than soap to open on Christmas day.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        I think you’re right Wendy. Just start accepting donations. I trust that you and theattack will put the money to good use for these kids.

      13. Avatar photo honeybeegood says:

        I have money in my paypal doing nothing! It’s not a lot but it’s all yours if this gets setup.

      14. As soon as I hear from theattack that she has a Paypal account that I can send collected donations to and that she’s willing to go shopping, we’ll make it happen.

      15. the attack says:

        Absolutely! I’ll open a Paypal account and email it to you ASAP. Thanks so much!

      16. Ok! Operation Christmas Miracle in effect! Anyone interested in helping theattack and her organization get christmas gifts to the children they service, please paypal your donation to wendy@dearwendy.com with “theattack” in the subject line. Thanks!

      17. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t have paypal, so I will send through your tootsie roll, ok?

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        Can’t find the tootsie roll.

      19. lets_be_honest says:

        Done. Thanks so much. I wrote theattack in the comment section. Hopefully it worked.

      20. Paypal is free to set up LBH – super easy too.

      21. GatorGirl says:

        theattack, you’re the best!! I just sent some money your way. Now I need to find something local to me to give to, y’all have inspired me.

      22. lets_be_honest says:

        Honestly! Soap?!
        I wish organizations like theattack’s were better equipped to advertise the need for sponsors.

      23. Imsostartled says:

        Would it work if some sponsors from DW were to buy something for the kids at say a ToysRUs or at Target or something and have it available for pick-up for someone from your organization? I’m not sure how the logistics of that would work, but I’d love to help!

      24. like a registry?

        i wonder for next year if that would make things easier!

  9. Um. Of course I’ll buy books. You all know how I feel about books! GIVE TEH KIDDIES MOAR BOOKS!

    Coincidentally, I’m actually working on a 3rd grade struggling reader program right now. I mean, literally, I was just writing prompts for the TE that goes along with the SE (that I also wrote). How weird is that!?

    1. Avatar photo EscapeHatches says:

      Exactly! I told my stepson a while back that one thing he could always ask for and would always gift ANYTIME ANYWHERE was books.

      I’m bummed I missed out on helping!!

      1. When I visit my nieces, I like to get them something. They have so many toys that the only thing I buy them now are books and they love it. I love that they’re readers.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        My sister does this with my daughter too. They have a little book club of 2 over the phone. Its so nice for kids to get into books rather than get some crappy toy they’ll like for a couple weeks.

  10. DANG!

    i make one batch of cookies and all the books are gone?

    dang, DWers… dang. haha

  11. This is what happens when the forums are broken! We need something else to do, so we do good deeds instead!

  12. Gone already?! Anyone more teachers out there need books for their classes? Love the sponsor-a-class idea. (I often give through donorschoose.org, but it’s nice that these kids can have something that belongs to them to take home, rather than just school supplies!)

    1. Check out all of the local bookstores. I know in Chicago, you can buy a book during check out and that book goes to underprivelaged children. They really do this too. I volunteer for a tutoring program that serves economically disadvantaged children. This is my third year tutoring the same girl. I adore her. Anyway, some of the books go to this program at Christmas.

      For all of you Chicagoland folks, check out Tutoring Chicago, which is the program for grades 1 – 6. After they graduate that, they can move to Cabrini Connections, grades 7 – 12. My girl graduated the first program last year and I moved with her to the second. They are always looking for help in various ways.

      1. Aha! Thanks for the tip. I even have some extra left on a Barnes & Noble gift card, so if they’re not participating, I can always pick one up for my workplace toy drive. Not quite as geared to an individual child’s personal interest as this initiative (a great way to introduce the reading-for-pleasure concept!) but still a good way to get books into the hands of kids that might not otherwise have them.

  13. I’m late and I missed it!

  14. lets_be_honest says:

    If anyone is looking for more ideas on giving, many police stations and churches have a “giving tree” which basically has paper ornaments that will read “Girl, Age 5” and sometimes includes what the girl is hoping to get. Its an easy way, and fairly inexpensive way to give.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Yup, I did the salvation army angel tree (although I think those were due by the 10th). I loved being able to shop for a little girl since I don’t have children or any nieces or nephews.

  15. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Way to go, guys!

  16. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Just now seeing this — well done, everyone! Dear Wendy readers and Wendy, you are the best!!!!

  17. lets_be_honest says:

    What a reminder of how fortunate I am, and most of us are. The fact that I’m taken aback at the idea that some children actually ask for soap for Christmas is a wake up call. You guys are awesome. Really. I’ll be talking to my kid about this tonight and we’ll try and come up with some more ideas on how to give this Christmas.
    (sorry AP if I sound like one of those loons on facebook!)

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      No, this would not be a loony FB status. …. Just don’t you dare call us your best friends, ha.

  18. The generosity in this thread is so touching and a good reminder that the holidays still aren’t ALL about consumerism and selfishness. Well done all.

  19. Done and done! I don’t have much, but I just had to do something. This breaks my heart.

  20. They’re full already! I may buy some anyway.

  21. quixoticbeatnik says:

    You guys are so amazing. I’m so amazed by the generosity of everyone on here! First the Hurricane Sandy Drive, then the Book Drive, and now this….I feel like my faith in humanity has been restored somewhat. I also feel like maybe we should have a monthly charity thing? Maybe, give like $1 or $5 to a specific charity – it’s a small amount but coming from a lot of people can be super helpful. 🙂

    1. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

      I was just thinking that.. Even if it’s not an ‘official’ thing, maybe we can do something in the forums like pledge to give 5 or 10 a week to a charity that a fellow DW has connections to?

  22. Wendy and readers, you are awesome! I miss one day on DW, and the drives are all closed!!!

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