United Way distributes school supplies to those in need

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August 4, 2006

The school supply lists are out, but many families can't afford the basic tools for school.

Today was the first day the United Way of Aiken County held their School Tools distribution.

They began in an area that's had its share of struggles.

The United Way of Aiken County is making sure every student is equipped with the necessary tools to go back to school.

"We had to take the consistent items that are on all the school supply lists and pack by grade," explains Chris Slaughter of the United Way.

Through donations, the United Way has collected hundreds of pounds of school supplies--including 6,000 packs of notebook paper, 18,000 pencils, and 2,000 erasers--for students that need them but can't afford them.

Latoya Tyler of Graniteville has three kids and is trying to make ends meet.

"Especially when you don't have any extra income coming in or anything like this, it is really hard, it's real expensive," she says.

The United Way says the number of bags they will distribute at the Graniteville site has doubled, an indication that last year's train derailment left many families relying on outside sources.

"For a lot of families in this community especially, it's like one less stress for them to worry about with all the plant closings and things like that," Slaughter says.

Andrea Thompson is trying just getting by after a surgery left her with low funds.

"I haven't drawn a paycheck since the beginning of July," she says. "That was my last one; it's been rough."

But the United Way of Aiken County is helping to smooth the gap.

The United Way will be set up at other distribution sites throughout Aiken County all next week.

Any leftover supplies will be sent to area schools for distribution or those who did not pre-register.

Here is a full list of distribution dates, times, and sites:

Friday, August 49:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.Graniteville Recreation Center
Monday, August 71:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.Ridge Spring Town Hall
Tuesday, August 812:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.First Presbyterian Church (Aiken)
Wednesday, August 910:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.Community Ministry of North Augusta
 12:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.Millbrook Baptist Church / The Rock (Aiken)
Thursday, August 1012:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.New Ellenton Civic Center
Friday, August 1112:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church