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Local school districts helping families in need with free school supplies

School supplies
Richmond County is teaming up with nonprofits to get kids the school supplies they need this fall. (WRDW-TV / July 18, 2011)

News 12 This Morning / Monday, July 18 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The start of school for students in Richmond and Columbia counties is less than a month away, leaving some parents to figure out how to buy school supplies with money they don't always have.

That's why school districts like the Richmond County School Board are teaming up with local nonprofit groups to provide more supplies for families who are struggling financially.

The supplies are piling up at Aiken's United Way. Candis Moyer with the United Way has been busy all month collecting boxes full of pencils, pens and paper.

"Over half of the students enrolled in Aiken County are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program," Moyer said. "You know they are below a certain level of income."

The back-to-school basics are out early on store shelves this season, but a dollar here and another there can add up quickly, making it harder for parents to purchase the essentials.

"It's not easy for everybody. It gets expensive, especially if you have multiple kids in school. Gets overwhelming for some parents."

That's why Moyer will be distributing boxes full of supplies along with two more buses filled with other school essentials to schools throughout Aiken county.

"We give them to the schools, and the schools distribute them throughout the year on an as needed basis," Moyer said.

So if your child already qualifies for free or reduced lunch, you maybe getting some more assistance with supplies.

In Richmond County, the United Way will host a Stuff the Bus drive on July 23.

If you need to get the basics for your child, you'll need to call your school's social worker. "You may want to ask at the school when you go to register your child," Svehla said. "And registration day is Aug. 3."

On Aug. 6, the district will hold a PTA event at the James Brown Arena which will give parents and students in need a chance to pick up the tools they need for school.

"Parents can come in with their children, visit the PTA table that their schools represents. They'll be able to get a ticket at that table to go get free school supplies for kids," Svehla said.

"The economy is still a little unstable, the needs are still great," said Moyer.

Here's a rundown of all the events:

  • July 23: Stuff the Bus drive will be at the ASU atheltic complex off of Wrightsboro Road.

  • July 30: School supply drive at the Chick-fil-A on Daniel C. Parkway.

  • Aug. 6: PTA event for Richmond County parents and students at the James Brown arena from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can always donate supplies by dropping them off at the Aiken County United Way at 235 Barnwell Ave. Organizers say they always have plenty of donations for younger students, but sometimes supplies like protractors and calculators for older students go overlooked.

Parents in Columbia County can call the school board at (706) 541-0650 if you need assistance. The county will try to set you up with a social worker.