Service Learning- Pencil Cases

Jewish Value: Limud (study)

What is Limud? Limud literally translates to “to learn.” The emphasis placed on learning in the Jewish faith is no accident, as we are commanded to do so.  As Jewish people, we strive to spread our love of learning with the world. This project will provide children with some of the tools they need in order to succeed academically. 


Why is this project important?

While people often go back to school shopping the week before school starts, many others need more time to gather their materials. For some there is excitement around preparing for the new school year, while for others it can be a time of stress, knowing there may be a lack of funds. This project provides students with some necessary supplies, so they are able to start the new school year on the right foot.  

These pencil cases will help families and children experiencing economic challenges, who struggle to purchase school supplies every year for each child. Items often need to be replaced throughout the year, which becomes another expense. 

The Opportunity Gap is defined as the set of circumstances that impact a student’s equitable chance to reach his or her full potential. These situational conditions into which a child is born include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, zip code, and socioeconomic status.  While this vernacular is still relatively new to the general public, it has been a long-standing, systemic issue in education (Ghirdharie 2015). 

[Access to school supplies] helps to build self-esteem and confidence, critical for students who are already painfully aware of the sizeable gap between the have’s and the have not’s. By addressing the Opportunity Gap, we work toward a more equal playing field and dismantle a generational cycle. 


When supplies are lacking, the quality of education is in jeopardy, and that affects future opportunities for children.


In 2022, families with children in elementary through high school spent an average of $864 on school supplies, representing a $15 increase from the previous year. ( 



Reflect on your own experiences buying school supplies every year. How might it feel to have to prioritize school supplies among other expenses? Think about how often you have/had to replace your own school supplies throughout the year.  

We know that having the necessary supplies is critical for students to be successful. What other supports are needed for students to have a successful year?  

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