Last week, I was discussing what to do with extra pens laying around that aren't being used, and the topic of donation came up in the comments thread. Lily mentioned an organization called Pens for Kids which sends pens to kids in need in Africa. According to the website, education is paid for by some African governments, but supplies are not usually covered. Pens for Kids has taken up the cause to try and get school supplies to those children in need.
I exchanged emails with Linda, one of the volunteers for Pens For Kids, and here is what she told me:
I traveled to Kenya and Tanzania on vacation last year and it changed my life. I took candy for kids as I usually do and they wanted pens, not the tart sugary candy I'd brought. I met a man there and he told me about a guy in Denmark named Claus who was sending him pens. I contacted Claus when I got home and then took his project up a few notches and incorporated here in the US. We now have a tax id and we've filed 501(c)(3) papers so that we can help more kids with corporate support as well as keeping the grassroots efforts as well. I've sent about 7500 pens in the past couple of months -- All of the pens I have collected so far are from people I know or people who have stumbled across the website across the US. We are still very small and just have one simple goal -- to get pens to the kids to assist with their education. Education is the key to everything in Africa. We will be contacting pen companies for donations of pens and shipping as soon as we secure the 501(c)(3) approval.
For a bit more information Here is a link to an article in the San Diego North County times published in from June ( the author got it mostly right :-)
I would like to make the Pens for Kids organization the official charity of the Pen Addict blog. I have added a section to the sidebar with all of the information and donation links for Pens for Kids. If you are so inclined, please consider donating your old pens to the cause (or money also - they need it for shipping costs).
One thing I would like to do right out the gate is commit 50% of the Google AdSense revenue from this blog to Pens for Kids. The money doesn't add up to much - from December '07 to now, I have just under $80 in my AdSense account, and they don't send out checks until you reach $100. I will be working on ways to improve that over the coming months.
With the other 50% of AdSense revenue, I am going to start doing giveaways and contests for readers of the Pen Addict. I think this would be a great way to drive traffic to the blog and, in turn, have even more people become aware of the Pens for Kids program.
I hope this will work out well for Pens for Kids and for readers of this blog. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please shoot me an email or leave a note in the comments section.
Labels: Pens for Kids