Salvation Army collecting school suppliesWritten by Caitlin McGlade | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Robyn Hage teaches music at Navarre Elementary School and sees kids from kindergarten through sixth grade whose families can’t afford to buy them school supplies.
She and other teachers often pay out of their own pockets to provide the kids with supplies, in addition to donations from St. Charles Hospital and supply drives organized by The Salvation Army.
“I would say that, oftentimes, it’s a self-esteem issue because they see other students that have supplies that they don’t have,” Hage said.
The number of families applying for backpacks stuffed with supplies from The Salvation Army has dramatically increased during the past few years, according to event coordinator Tracy Knappins. She said The Salvation Army is preparing to distribute 2,000 backpacks throughout Lucas, Ottawa and Wood counties.
The Salvation Army has organized a backpack and school supplies drive for first through eighth graders in the three counties for the past seven years. Last year, 1,700 kids received the backpacks, up from 1,500 the year before, Knappins said.
Charter One Bank funds the program with a $10,000 annual grant.
“We have been seeing people that we’ve never seen before, that have never asked for assistance before,” Knappins said.
To qualify, a family normally should fall at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, this would equal a monthly income of about $3,533. However, Knappins said she and other Salvation Army employees make exceptions for families who don’t make the 200 percent cut if they have other strenuous circumstances, such as recent job loss or an ill child.
Donation boxes are located at The Andersons or any Charter One Bank location until Aug. 14 for anyone who wants to drop off school supplies. Last year, Knappins said the drive collected 69,714 items.
Hage said she doesn’t know how the students would cope without this type of supply drive.
“I think it would be detrimental to the student learning because I don’t think the teachers could compensate for all the supplies,” Hage said. “Typically, there might be only one parent that is employed.”
However, though the Salvation Army can fund a program for younger students, equipping high school students with supplies isn’t feasible.
“The funding is just not there for it,” Knappins said.
Families can apply for backpacks from Aug. 3 through Aug. 14, between 9 and 11 a.m., and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Salvation Army Office at 620 N. Erie St. The Salvation Army is also looking for volunteers to sort and prepare the backpacks. Volunteers can help by calling Knappins at (419) 241-1138 on Aug. 17 through 19.
- 4 oz. bottle of school glue
- Glue stick
- Pens (blue, black and red)
- Colored pencils or markers
- Pencil sharpener
- Pair of children’s scissors
- Spiral notebooks
- Pocket folders
- Wide-ruled notebook paper
- Plastic box or pencil pouch