Community helping local kids with school supply drives

Date Published: 
Aug. 18, 2017

Nowadays, “school supplies” are more than just pencils and paper. And some families have trouble affording all the crayons, scissors, binders, index cards and more needed for a successful school year — not to mention a quality backpack to carry everything.

This month, people can donate to local school supply drives, which directly help local children and teens.

“If you can invest a little bit more in these kids, they’ll help our area become a better area,” said Suzanne Brady, a teacher at Sussex Central High School, who organized a drive for her more impoverished students.

“These kids are our future, whether you have kids in the system” or not, Brady said. “If you’re able to spread your wealth a little bit, even if you can just buy a notebook, you can be helping kids that want to learn.”

Education budgets were slashed statewide this year, which impacts everyone, down to the classroom teachers who wonder whether they’ll have enough supplies for the whole year.

“We have an area that’s growing, just in general. … There are a lot of people that still are struggling. It is a low-income area.”

On the surface, a coastal community can appear well-off, but school supply drives often focus on the middle- to lower-class families who live in the area.

“A lot of these kids are working jobs… They’re from single-parent families... They’re working to help their families, working to support their siblings,” Brady said.

People with more time than money can also volunteer at their local schools, as mentors or classroom helpers.

“We really want to encourage volunteers to come out,” said Mark Steele, superintendent of the Indian River School District. “And please participate in all grade levels. This is as important in high school as elementary. The more school volunteers we have, the stronger the school community.”

Local school supply drives are taking place across the district:

• Southern Sussex Rotary Club will be collecting items Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon for the G.W. Carver Academy in Frankford, at Hocker’s Super Center grocery store at Routes 26 and 17. Their needs include binders, composition books, erasers, hand sanitizer, highlighters, markers, notebook paper, backpacks, pencils, pens, tissues, cash donations.

• St. George’s U.M. Church, at 34281 Omar Road, Frankford, is collecting items on Aug. 21, 24 and 28 from 8 a.m. to noon, and Aug. 20 and 27 at 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m., for John M. Clayton Elementary School in Frankford. They are asking for any types of elementary school supplies.

• The River Church, 35175 Roxana Road, Roxana, and Selbyville Public Library, 11 S. Main Street, Selbyville, are collecting items until Aug. 27 for Phillip C. Showell Elementary School in Selbyville. Their list includes composition books, Crayola crayons and colored pencils, dry-erase markers, earbuds, folders, glue sticks, highlighters, Lysol wipes, pencils, three-ring binders, washable markers and wide-rule paper.

• The Roxana Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, 35943 Zion Church Road, Frankford, will host a collection at their All-You-Can-Eat Fried Chicken Dinners on Aug. 19 and Sept. 8, for Phillip C. Showell Elementary in Selbyville. They are asking for all types of school supplies.

• Mariner’s Bethel U.M. Church, 81 Central Avenue, Ocean View, is collecting items until Aug. 28 for multiple local grammar schools. They are asking for backpacks, children’s scissors, colored pencils, Crayola colored markers, composition notebooks, crayons, erasers, glue sticks, hand sanitizer, index cards (3-by-5-inch), notebook dividers, pens, pencils, pencil cases, Post-it notes, rulers, spiral notebooks, three-ring binders, tissues, wide-ruled notebook paper, and quart- or gallon-sized zip-top bags.

• World Gym, 28632 Dupont Boulevard, Millsboro, is collecting items until Labor Day weekend, for Sussex Central High School students. Their needs include backpacks, composition notebooks, cap erasers, glue sticks, folders, highlighters, notecards, pencils, pens, paperclips, rulers, scissors and related items for high-schoolers in need.

• Coldwell Banker, 39682 Sunrise Court, Bethany Beach, is collecting items until Labor Day, for Lord Baltimore Elementary School teachers. They are asking for large chart paper, colored pencils, copier paper, Expo dry-erase markers, glue sticks, Post-it notes (all sizes), Sharpie fine-point markers and cash donations.

• Community Lutheran Church, Route 20 and Omar Road in Frankford, is collecting supplies for John M. Clayton Elementary School and for local homeless children. They are requesting any type of elementary school supplies until Labor Day.

This is not a comprehensive list. Many more neighborhoods, churches and businesses are still collecting supplies. People can also contact local schools to learn where they can donate. Teachers can also create “wish list” websites, which allows parents and friends to donate money for classroom supplies. This has become increasingly common as local school budgets shrink.

Families seeking their own child’s school supply lists can contact their school or visit the school’s website. People should be cautious when using third-party supply list websites, especially those that link directly to shopping websites, as they may not be official lists or may charge a higher price than other vendors.