The first day of school is fast approaching and many parents are scrambling to finish their back-to-school shopping, but organizations are helping out the families that can't buy everything on the list.
The 20% of students in Muscogee County who live in poverty and many others whose parents just can't afford the ever-increasing school supply shopping lists are getting a helping hand. Over the weekend many school supply drives wrapped up their collection process with events like Reach 4 Your Dreamz's Back to School Bash that provided 50 families with all the essentials.
Reach 4 Your Dreamz assistant Shana Boyd says, "They already have to buy clothes and things, and it's just important to show kids that there's always a reward when you do good things."
The United Way of Lee County collected thousands of dollars worth of supplies for their Stuff the Bus drive. Resource coordinator Forrest Carden says it's important to make sure every student comes to class with the right tools. "They might be shy or slightly even embarrassed about the whole process," he says, "and they're just not getting the supplies they need, so we're basically just making sure they can start the year on an equal footing as their peers."
He says Alabama's tax-free weekend multiplied the contributions at the 32 drop-off locations around the county. The donations will be split among the schools in the county's three school systems to make sure everyone gets what they need.
Supplies aren't the only things being collected for back-to-school. Winn-Dixie's around the country are giving food to kids in need. In Columbus they've partnered with Feeding the Valley Food Bank. Shoppers can donate a dollar or more when they check out.
District Director Richard McGough says kids do better school work on a full stomach. "I think all of us have a soft spot for children, especially," he says, "it's not their fault. They didn't do anything wrong, but yet they're not getting, and probably in many cases the parents didn't do anything wrong either. It's just the way it happened, but I think we all have an obligation to support those that can't support themselves, especially children."
Winn-Dixie is collecting funds through Aug. 13.
The United Way of Lee County's Stuff the Bus boxes have been taken up, but you can still donate at their location in Opelika until the first day of school.
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