Column: You can help Caldwell's students

Aug. 17, 2013 @ 06:34 AM

You can feel it in the air. School is just around the corner, and with it comes new clothes, colorful tennis shoes, brightly colored backpacks and an array of school supplies.

But with it also comes a deep financial strain on many families’ pocketbooks. They cannot afford school supplies, much less the new school clothes. Many children will wear hand-me-downs, or garage sale and thrift store retreads.

The list for school supplies is long and can easily cost $75-$100 per student. This is an impossible purchase for many families, as we have a large number of students living in poverty. And how can you help? A few dollars can make a difference.

*Go to Walmart in Lenoir or Granite Falls and pull a school supply list. Pick out all of the items that you can afford, pay for them and place the bag of supplies at a tub at one of the main entrances. Or take advantage of the specials and purchase multiple commonly used items. For instance a box of 24 crayons can be purchased for 50 cents. Most people could afford to buy 10 packs of crayons … $5 is less than one fast food meal!

*You can also drop off supplies at the Communities in Schools office.

*Backpacks are always needed. Maybe your club or church could make a donation, like the U.S. Postal Service employees have done in Caldwell County. CIS recently received a $1,000 donation from the postal workers that will be used to purchase supplies and backpacks. Even $100 can go a long way to helping our students and not wreck the budget for many non-profits or churches.

On another note CIS is also looking for mentors for students, primarily in the sixth grade. This is a one-hour-per-week commitment during the school year, and CIS Executive Director Debbie Eller says in a “perfect world” she really needs 75 new mentors. Training is provided, and many adults who have volunteered in the program say it is a very rewarding experience. She can be reached at 759-2852. No experience required and training is provided.