It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Back to School! Yet, for many families in our community, this is a time of stress and shame as they already struggle to make ends meet. Many collections are being held for basic school supplies like crayons and glue and Silver Spring Cares is ready to help families by going one step further to meet the growing demands of today’s modern students.

Thanks to a partnership with YMCA Youth & Family Services/Linkages to Learning we hope to ease this burden for families in five elementary and two middle schools and even one High School right here in Silver Spring! From individual family requests to providing bulk items for distribution to teachers and students, we hope to allow all children in our community to start the school year with confidence and dignity.

As a country, an appalling number of American children live in poverty in the United States. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 14.7 million, or nearly 20 percent of children under age 18, live below the poverty line—that is, in households with incomes less than $23,550 a year for a family of four. And our immediate community reflects nothing different.

We know that poverty affects academic progress, the very heart of a school’s mission. Research shows that the distractions of poverty, including poor nutrition, lack of sleep and stress, are clearly linked to brain development, working memory, and attentional control.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 1 in 5 children in the United States lived in poverty in 2013. The year before, 31 million children were enrolled in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program, indicating that their families needed help providing nutritious food. But schools feel the impact far beyond the cafeteria.

This is why we at Silver Spring Cares decided to go beyond the crayons and glue and find out what’s really challenging families, schools and those who serve them during the Back to School Season. So we’ve created multiple ways to engage and help these amazing students start off the year right!

Of course, we also wanted to make it flexible and easy for amazing folks like YOU to help! Read on and choose how you’ll help!

SIGN UP TO SPONSOR A STUDENT – Our List Is Currently FULL (Yay!) so we’re not accepting sponsors at the moment. We do need a lot of help fulfilling our Amazon List (but you don’t have to buy from there!) and our School Counselor List!

We’ll send you a student and their Back to School wishlist! You’d be surprised at what and how little these amazing kids requested!

PURCHASE ITEMS FROM OUR AMAZON WISHLIST FOR DISTRIBUTION TO STUDENTS AT THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS: (NOTE: If the link doesn’t immediately direct you to the list, copy and paste the link into your browser.)

  • Montgomery Knolls Elementary
  • New Hampshire Estates Elementary
  • Rolling Terrace
  • Broad Acres Elementary
  • Oak View Elementary
  • Green Castle Elementary
  • Eastern Middle School
  • Silver Spring International Middle School
  • Blair High School

Shop for Items on Our General Wish List Below!

These are some of the most requested items from school counselors. And be sure to check out our Amazon Wishlist for other great ideas that you can purchase from your favorite retailer!

  • Liquid Motion Bubbler(s)
  • Stress Balls (assorted shapes and colors)
  • Kinetic Sand
  • Sand Tray (or shallow plastic container with lid)
  • Pencil Top Fidgets
  • Any type of fidget sensory trinkets for ages 5-9
  • Legos (We’re happy to take gently USED!)
  • Puzzles
  • Any art supplies (paint, brushes, foil sheets, feathers, small plastic gems – calming jars-, pipe cleaners, etc) 
  • Coloring books
  • Yoga balls
  • Sand Timers
  • Essential Oils for Diffuser

Gift Cards to TARGET, GIANT, SAFEWAY, and WALMART are also appreciated!

VOLUNTEER AT OUR PACKING PARTY ON 8/22 from 6:30 – 9:30pm!

If you have any questions or great ideas, drop us a line at

Thanks for making Silver Spring a great place to thrive!