Your main objective in tidying your home office might be to eliminate the dust bunnies, but don't be surprised to end your cleaning mission with more pens and pencils piled up than you could use in two lifetimes. Rather than send them to the landfill, gather them up and find a new home for them. Whether you look locally or think globally, you shouldn't have trouble donating them.
Check Your Inventory
Before you consider worthy recipients of your collection, take time to check each pen to ensure it writes correctly; no organization needs dead pens. Sharpen the pencils and toss those that are just a couple of inches in length. Take an inventory of the approximate number of pens and pencils you have and also note any other related office supplies you're happy to donate, such as pencil sharpeners, erasers or correction fluid.
Think about the people closest to you before you begin brainstorming over where to donate what you've pulled together. If you have a school-aged niece, nephew or grandchild, your school supplies can be a welcome gift. Check with any of your family members, friends or neighbors who are teachers, especially in the lower grades. If a teacher has to buy school supplies out-of-pocket, surprise her with the pens and pencils.
Reach Out to Local Organizations
Contact local organizations that might benefit from your collected supplies to arrange a day for making your donation. These can include your community's schools, daycare organizations, after-school groups, church groups and youth groups. Schools are usually grateful recipients, given the budget shortfalls that many school systems experience. Even if your local school doesn't have a current need for pens and pencils, it can store them until needed.
Find a charitable organization that accepts school supplies for children in developing parts of the world such as Africa. Contact the organization, list your collection of supplies and find out what the charity can use. Because the organization might not have a branch near you, ask about shipping arrangements. Many charities provide tax receipts once they receive your donation and might also post photos online of your supplies in use after being received on the other end.
Do a Drive
Make organizing a pen and pencil drive in your community part of your plan. This allows you to gather supplies beyond those gleaned from your own office cleanup and can involve input from co-participants regarding selection of a worthy recipient. Choose a school or community organization you want to help, then advertise drop-off dates and locations. Once the drive is over, make your delivery, inviting media to the event to raise awareness of the need and to help publicize future drives.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.