We love hearing from customers who are doing amazing, world-changing things. We recently spoke with Cinda Kelly about her efforts to make sure that every student in the world has something to write with.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Cinda Kelly and I started the Facebook group called “The Pencil Granny & Friends”.
My 19th grandbaby is due the day before my next birthday. I team drive a semi-truck with my hubby to support my pencil addiction.
For years, we have packed Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes through Samaritan’s Purse. This is an initiative where you pack shoeboxes with simple gifts to send to children outside of the U.S. affected by war, poverty, natural disasters and disease.
When and why did you start “The Pencil Granny & Friends” group?
A few years back, I read the story of a lady from Brazil who moved to the USA and went back to her village to visit. When she was there, she saw that the local teacher was cutting pencils into multiple pieces so that more schoolchildren could have pencils to write with.
I told my hubby about the story and we decided to help by sending extra packs of school supplies to Operation Christmas Child to put into shoeboxes that are not totally full. This gets school supplies to children as well as fills up boxes that need it.
We dropped off approx. 456 packs our first time. I then told my daughters that I was starting a Facebook page thinking that maybe some people might see what we’re doing and want to donate pencils.
3 years later, we have 1584 followers! Many of them also pack the "pencil filler packs" to round out the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
What are your goals for this group?
This year our goal is 200,000 packs!
Last year we did approx. 44,000.
There are places in this world where children are not allowed to attend school without a pencil! Our goal is that no child is left behind because they don’t have a pencil. In some countries, a child can attend but not take the test or do the work unless they have a pencil or pen.
We’ve heard about teachers in poorer countries using 1 pencil for an entire class. The teacher passes a pencil around and each child quickly takes notes. Can you imagine how long a lesson must take?
Our group is a super group of people committed to getting school supplies to children. I was blessed with an awesome admin named Amber Johnson who helps a lot by running the blog, among other things, working 60-70 hours a week—that is important!
So far we are already at 26,000 packs!
How can people who are interested get involved?