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1,500 Volunteers Blanket Greene County for Annual 'Day of Caring'

The Salvation Army is one agency that benefits from volunteers through its Back-to-School drive

Wednesday is the annual Day of Caring.  That’s where 1,500 volunteers take to the city and make a difference.  One major event is at The Salvation Army Super Store.  KSMU’s Justin Lux has the report.

As summer comes to a close, that first school bell is just around the corner and with it comes the cost of supplies.  The price tag for those items can quickly mount.

“The school supplies on the list are like $50 dollars or more!” 

For Melissa Stevens, The Salvation Army’s back-to-school assistance program is a Godsend.

“I’m on disability, I have a fixed income, I can’t afford to spend $40 or $50 on school supplies and haircuts and shoes.  I just don’t have the money and so it means the world to me,” says Stevens.

 The event marked the largest turnout The Salvation Army has ever seen. 949 children registered for the program. That’s a 39% increase from last year. Audrey Esther is a spokeswoman for The Salvation Army in Springfield.

“I think it just really demonstrates that a lot of folks are still struggling and it’s not necessarily perhaps the quote unquote stereotype that people think of.  I mean these are working families that are just trying to make ends meet,” she explains.

 To help the families, The Salvation Army will provide children with sets of clothing, backpacks and school supplies, haircuts, and vouchers that can be redeemed for a new pair of shoes. 

Judy Hill has volunteered since 2003, but this is her first time at the back-to-school program.

“I think it says that the community, that are pockets are deep, but our hearts are bigger,” Hill says.

To learn more about The Salvation Army in the Ozarks, you can call 862-5509.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.