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With public school students to head back to class in mid-August, local nonprofits are collecting donations for families who need a little help. KSMU’s Kaitlyn Schwers has this report on the efforts of two organizations.
Last year, through the Salvation Army’s back-to-school program, they were able to provide over 1,000 children from Greene and Christian County with school supplies, like backpacks, notebooks, and pencils.
Community Relations Director Audrey Esther says their organization this year is already seeing a tremendous increase in the number of families seeking assistance.
“Hundreds of families have already signed up, and so we appreciate the community support and we know that this program is important—and it’s especially important to the children who are receiving assistance because for a lot of these kids, this is all they’re getting for the start of the school year, and so we just really want to try to help them and help level the playing field for them,” she explained.
Esther says the Salvation Army is still taking donated supplies, but it is also looking for volunteers to help distribute those items next Monday, August 5 at its thrift store on S. Campbell Ave.
Another organization is also taking donations for children, but it’s not asking for traditional school supplies.
Care to Learn, a nonprofit that provides children with basic unmet needs, reaches out to 11 chapters in southwest Missouri, like Bolivar, Willard, and Republic. Morey Mechlin is the executive director.
“Children need many things to go back to school, and school supplies is just one of those, and at Care to Learn, we focus our assistance in the areas of heath, hunger, and hygiene. And with that in mind, we are asking people to donate hygiene items, things like shampoo, soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste. We’d love to have some hair dryers. That’s a more expensive item, but so many children need those,” Mechlin said.
Care to Learn will hold a drive for donations next Wednesday night, August 7, at Hammons Field. The public can receive a discount on Springfield Cardinals tickets if they donate hygiene items or cash for Care to Learn to purchase items for children.
For KSMU News, I’m Kaitlyn Schwers.