The cost of everything is going up and school supplies are no exception. School budgets are being cut, start of school supply lists are growing and parents are finding it hard to make up the difference.
More than 16 million kids live in extreme poverty in the United States and arrive on the first day of school without the supplies they need to learn. By partnering with community members, the Salvation Army Backpack to School program provides those tools to students in need.
Sure, you can get some great deals on supplies but for those families who earn minimum wage and have multiple children managing even the most basic back to school supply list may be a bit of a strain.
The Salvation Army is ensuring that every child in Mesquite has access to the basic tools need for successful academic achievement and on Thursday, Aug. 3, they handed out a generous number of backpacks to many appreciative children.
Community members donated pencils, pens, folders, glue and scissors and a host of volunteers helped stuff the backpacks with all the supplies. Monetary donations were used by the staff to purchase additional supplies.
Major Lisa Smith, director of the Mesquite Salvation Army, said when asking the Mesquite community members for help, “Buying school supplies can be a hardship for families where the parents are only making minimum wage, especially if they have more than one child in school. Cooling bills increase and with the children at home, more money is spent on feeding them, so many people find themselves coming up short in August. And when young people don’t have the basic tools for school, their chances of success in the classroom are diminished.”
Cesar, Anparo and Ashley Quiarte are going into the fourth, sixth and ninth grades and their school supply list is relative to the ages of the students. Ninth grader Ashley had the largest and most expensive list. The gift of the basic school supplies helps to ease her parent’s burden when having to buy for three children, especially with school provided supplies being cut shorter each year.
Marely Quezada is starting fourth grade and twin sisters Gemma and Bella are beginning kindergarten this year. Marely has benefitted from the program in past years and is grateful now that her little sisters will also have the advantage of what the donated supplies can do to help aid in their academic success.
Scott Thompson, like most parents is excited to see school start for the tranquil hours that lie ahead but he’s not excited about the growing cost of school supplies. Nathan and Ashton Abrams are going into the fourth and eighth grades, Johnathan Reilly is entering the fourth grade and little sister Kayla Thompson will be in the third grade. Scott says the program has been a God send for several years and continues to help the family as the cost of school supplies grows as fast as each child’s grade level; it has been a blessing for his entire family.
Smith, Salvation Army staff and volunteers as well as each child helped this year want to give a huge thank you to the community members who continue to support this very important program.
For more information on how you can become involved in helping your community through the Salvation Army programs contact Smith at 702-346-5116 or stop in the office located at 355 W. Mesquite Blvd.