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Sign Up for Back to School Assistance Underway at Salvation Army

The Back-to-School assistance program sign up is much earlier this year than it has been in previous years.  That’s in part because school starts up early this year—August 15 in Springfield. 

Sign up started July 2nd for kids in grades K through 12 in Greene and Christian Counties and continues through Friday (7/13).  Kids in need get school supplies, a backpack, a haircut, a voucher for new shoes and clothes from the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Salvation Army spokesperson Audrey Esther says last year they helped more than 900 children.  But so far this year, only around 120 families have signed up to receive help…

"Our main concern is that people are just not aware that we're doing assistance sign up right now and that the assistance is available, and one of our main concerns is that folks it's gonna hit 'em that, you know, school's starting sooner and it'll be here soon, and they might be in need of assistance right before school, and we just want to encourage them to come in now and sign up now and so they can get the most amount of assistance now."

Sign up is from 10 am to 3 pm the rest of this week at the Salvation Army, 1707 W. Chestnut Expressway.  Families should take a photo i.d., a social security card for each member of the household, proof of income and proof of residency.

Donations of school supplies, backpacks children’s clothing—especially boys’—and money are needed.

Esther says they could use volunteer help as well.  The distribution is planned for July 30th, and help is needed the 28th through the 30th…

"We'll need all sorts of folks to help us sort school supplies, pack backpacks and then also to act as what we're calling shopping buddies on Monday July 30.  Shopping buddies basically escort the families and the children around the thrift store while they get the supplies they need so they help 'em pick out their back packs and their school supplies and their clothing, and we've found that this tends to be a really rewarding volunteer experience for those who sign up to help."

You can find more information about the Salvation Army’s Back-to-School assistance program by going to www.usc.salvationarmy.org/springfield-mo or by calling 862-5509.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.