Each year, Common Hope provides approximately $100,000 worth of school supplies to over 3,300 students.  This year, we have been given an incredible opportunity to fill a shipping container with supplies, which will then be delivered to our warehouse in Antigua by a partner organization. If we can fill this container with needed supplies, we could save up to $100,000!

An Urgent Need

In order to have the container delivered in time for the start of the new school year in January, we need to collect supplies by the end of September. That’s why we need your help. A shipping container can hold approximately 20 pallets, or enough supplies for all of our students and teachers for the entire 2015 school year. That’s a lot of school supplies! We need your support and generosity to make this happen. Here is a quick look at our timeline:

  • August 2014: Continue collecting supplies, begin weekly volunteer opportunities for sorting, counting, packing, and labeling
  • September 2014: Continue collecting supplies and packing pallets, set a ship date
  • Early October 2014: Two-hour container load on scheduled date (TBA)
  • 45 Days Later: Container arrives in Guatemala and is unloaded at the warehouse in Antigua
  • November/December 2014: 3,300 school bags are packed!

How You Can Help

There are a few ways you can help make this project a success. Here is an at-a-glance look. Continue reading below for detailed information on each opportunity.

  • Shop and Drop: Purchase school supplies and drop them off at our St. Paul, MN office
  • Shop and Ship: Purchase school supplies online as part of our virtual supply drive and have them shipped to our office
  • Fill a Pallet: Organize your own supply drive at your church, school, or in your community and try to collect a pallet’s worth of school supplies
  • Pack a Pallet: Volunteer at our office to sort, count, and pack boxes
  • No Time to Shop: Donate packing boxes or make a cash donation towards buying supplies that are only available in Guatemala

Shop and Drop

If you walk into a store in the U.S. during August and September, you will probably see “Back to School” signs. Many retailers like Target are having great sales on the exact items we need. If you have school-age children, this is the perfect opportunity to pick up some extra supplies for the students in Guatemala. Click here to download a PDF list of the supplies we are trying to collect.

If you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you can simply drop of any supplies to our office. Our hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 am–4:30 pm (please note we close at 12:30 pm on Fridays through Labor Day). Our office is located at:

1400 Energy Park Drive
Suite 23
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55108

Shop and Ship

If you’re a Common Hope supporter outside the Twin Cities area, you can easily donate school supplies as part of our virtual supply drive and have them shipped directly to us. We have set up easy-to-use school supplies registries on Target.com and Amazon.com. These retailers often offer free shipping this time of year. Here are some quick directions for accessing our online supply lists:

To access our list on Target.com

  1. add_message_screenshot

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    Use this link to go directly to our Target list  OR go to Target.com and click on TargetLists (next to the shopping cart icon) and search for the Common Hope list using:
    first name: COMMON
    last name: HOPE

  2. Directly add items from our list to your cart (it might say “purchased” on some items, but you can still add them to your cart).
  3. When you reach the check-out screen, select “Ship to Home,” and your items will automatically be sent to our office.
  4. You can also choose to “add gift options” illustrated in the picture to the right. If you could include a short note with your full name, address, and how you came to know Common Hope so we can send you an acknowledgment for your gift it would be greatly appreciated!

To access our list on Amazon.com

  1. Use this link to go directly to our Amazon.com list (you must be logged in to your Amazon.com account)
  2. Click on “Save and view this list”
  3. Select items to add to your cart
  4. Once you are done shopping, view your cart and select the “this order contains a gift” option (see photo below). Later during checkout you will be prompted to add a gift message.
  5. Proceed to the checkout screen, choose to “Add a new address” and fill out the following information (see photo below):
    Common Hope
    1400 Energy Park Drive
    Suite 23
    St. Paul, Minnesota, 55108-5248
  6. Continue to the next screen to select gift options. Check the box that says, “include a free personalized gift message.” You only need to do this on one item. Please include your name, address, and how you came to know about Common Hope so that we can send you an acknowledgment of your gift.
  7. Continue to check out as normal, including your address only for billing purposes.
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Fill a Pallet

The more people we have collecting school supplies the better. We need everyone to get involved and to encourage your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to participate as well. Organizing a supply drive is an easy, yet impactful way to support our mission and give back to the students and families in Guatemala. Churches, schools, and offices are just a few examples of great places to host supply drives. Click on the PDFs below to download some useful resources that will help you organize a drive. If you plan on hosting a drive, we ask that you contact Colleen Tracy to let her know you will be collecting supplies.

Pack a Pallet

Along with collecting school supplies, we also need dedicated volunteers to help us organize and pack them for shipping. We will be hosting weekly volunteer events at our St. Paul office where you can help in a variety of ways. If your church, school, or community group would like to come in and volunteer, please let us know and we can schedule a date and time that works for the members of your group. Here is a short list of ways you can volunteer:

  • Intake: unpacking, counting, and sorting donated supplies
  • Prep for container: repacking, counting, and labeling for Antigua, New Hope, or General Use
  • Palletizing: Help organize and pack pallets
  • Container load day: We will need as much help as possible to load 20 pallets into the container and prepare it for shipping
  • In Guatemala: unloading the container at our warehouse in Antigua, prepping school supply bags, and helping hand out school bags on School Supply Day at each site

No Time to Shop


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If you’d like to contribute to our efforts but simply don’t have time to shop or host a supply drive, monetary donations are welcome. You can send donations to our St. Paul office or you can donate online. If you send a donation to our office, please make a note that it is for school supplies and include your name, address, and how you came to know about Common Hope.

Making a donation online is easy! Just follow these steps (pictured right):

  1. Click here to go to our donation page.
  2. In the first drop-down menu select, “where it’s needed most.”
  3. Please make a note in the “Gift in honor/memory of” section that your donation is for school supplies.
  4. Fill out the rest of the form as indicated.