Owens alumni, area businesses partner for school supply driveWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Owens Community College’s Alumni Association in collaboration with several area businesses is reaching out to area children in need by hosting a month-long “Backpack to the Future” school supply drive.
The drive started July 17 and runs through Aug. 17. Books-A-Million, Directions Credit Union, Great Lakes Credit Union and Genoa Bank are partners in the drive.
Items needed are gently used or new backpacks, crayons, markers, bottles of glue, glue sticks, colored pencils, pencils, pink erasers, school boxes, pocket folders, marble covered composition books and tissues.
The alumni association works with schools to give away the supplies to low-income kindergartners, partnering with elementary schools in Lucas, Wood and Hancock counties in which a high percentage of students are eligible to receive free and reduced price lunches.
“We’re unique in the standpoint that we don’t give supplies to individuals directly,” said Laura Moore, executive director of the Owens Alumni Association. “We give the supplies and the backpacks to the schools so they can handle the distribution because they know their students and their families best.”
Last year’s drive collected 426 backpacks and 8,200 school supplies. Since establishing the program in 2004, the alumni association has given away 2,356 backpacks and 42,661 school supplies to Northwest Ohio students.
“As you can imagine, every year the need is greater,” Moore said. “We see so many schools that have 90 percent of their students at free and reduced lunches. We’d love to serve every school, but we only have so many supplies that come in.”
The association tries to partner with different schools each year.
“We feel it’s so crucial for students in their first official exposure to school to find it really fun and exciting,” Moore said. “If a child doesn’t have supplies and the student next to them does, they are in the position to borrow all year long. Can you imagine how that would feel? We really want to break down those barriers. We recognize supplies are needed. Backpacks are needed. Without those necessary supplies, the kids start off at a disadvantage.”
Garfield Elementary in Toledo was one of the schools chosen to receive donated backpacks and supplies last year. Principal Janice Richardson said the school received enough supplies to last all year for students through eighth grade.
“It was just a blessing,” Richardson said. “With the economy the way it was, just to look a parent in the face when they are struggling to find a job or make ends meet and say, ‘We can handle this,’ was great. Tissues, folders, notebooks, backpacks — you name it, we needed it and it was there. Whenever we’d see someone who needed a backpack, we gave them one.
“If someone lost one, we gave them one. We didn’t have to fret, didn’t have to spend money. We just had to come down to the supply room and get it and they lasted us and will take us to the beginning of the school year. The group at Owens is just wonderful. You know they are doing this from the heart and it just gets bigger and bigger each year. We were very fortunate to have those supplies. I am forever grateful.”
There are 19 community drop-off locations:
- Books-A-Million bookstores (2105 Levis Commons Blvd. at Levis Commons in Perrysburg and 1800 Tiffin Ave. in the Findlay Village Mall in Findlay).
- Directions Credit Union branches (5121 Whiteford Road in Sylvania, 3000 Tremainsville Road in Toledo, 3321 Briarfield Blvd. in Maumee, 4150 Brockway Drive in Perrysburg, 3312 Dustin Road in Oregon, 2533 S. Reynolds Road in Toledo, 3450 Central Ave., Suite 128, in Toledo, 27427 Crossroads Pkwy. in Rossford and 1 Owens Corning Pkwy. in Toledo).
- Genoa Bank branches (801 Main St. in Genoa, 3201 Navarre Ave. in Oregon, 703 Conant St. in Maumee, 24950 W. state Route 51 in Millbury and 9920 Old U.S. 20 in Rossford).
- Great Lakes Credit Union branches (5823 Monroe St. in Sylvania, 580 Craig Drive in Perrysburg and 1890 N. Wilkinson Way at the O-I Plaza in Perrysburg).
- Area residents can also bring their donations to Owens’ Office of Alumni Relations on the Toledo area campus, 30335 Oregon Road in Perrysburg Township, the Arrowhead Park Learning Center at 1724 Indian Wood Circle in Maumee or the Education Center Atrium on the Findlay-area campus.
For more information about the school supply drive, contact the Alumni Relations Office at (567) 661-7876, 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7876 or email@example.com.