Perspectives: We Collect More Than Good Memories
When The PPAI Expo 2017 opened in Las Vegas in January, it attracted nearly 20,000 industry professionals over six days who spent money on the city’s hotels, cabs, food and drink, shopping and entertainment. They dined with clients, held team dinners and probably picked up a gift or two for the kids back home. Adding it all up, the show’s economic impact on the city is estimated at $18.4 million by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
But when Expo closed its doors on January 12, a significant economic impact of another kind began to be measured.
Since 2007, PPAI has collaborated with the Kids In Need Foundation, which provides school supplies to children in underprivileged schools across America. Staff and volunteers from this amazing organization and its Las Vegas-based partner, Teacher EXCHANGE®, work on-site at each PPAI Expo to collect donation forms and gather discarded samples, excess promotional products and even booth components—all donated by generous exhibitors. They box and ship the donated items to some of the 40 affiliate resource centers nationwide. Teachers at schools in low-income areas can shop at these resource centers for free school supplies, incentives and prizes for their classrooms.
As the organization’s website states: When kids live in extreme poverty it means they come to school without the necessary tools to learn. Studies show that when kids have school supplies of their own, classroom behavior and grades improve, self-esteem strengthens, and kids develop better attitudes toward school and learning.
Kids In Need accepts most kinds of products including classroom staples—pens, paper, notebooks and calendars—and also lanyards, cups, candy, mints, umbrellas, stress toys, flashlights, lanyards, glassware and books—you name it, they can use it. Almost anything can be put to good use in the classroom by creative teachers who use our products as tools, incentives, rewards, prizes and teaching aids.
At this year’s show, the organization collected 15 pallets of promotional products, three bikes and two desk chairs, all worth nearly $31,000.
I’m proud to say that, since 2008, generous Expo exhibitors have provided more than $320,000 in product donations to this organization. Their efforts have been significant to helping Kids In Need assist more than 154,000 teachers and 4.8 million students in some of the most challenged communities across the U.S.
PPAI is exceedingly grateful to our member companies who have supported this program over the years—not just with the donations from the Expo but those suppliers, distributors and other businesses who donate unneeded products from their warehouses, sample closets and showrooms throughout the year.
If you are cleaning out your samples or inventory this spring, consider donating to Kids In Need or making a monetary donation. Find the donation form at www.kinf.org/donate. As Kids In Need proves, school supplies can change lives.