While parents stalk the aisles for Pink Pearl erasers, volunteers work behind the scenes in Galveston County, bringing a charitable bright side to the annual school shopping frenzy.
They set up a delivery service for families who can’t afford to check off supply lists.
“When you consider the fact that at several of our elementary campuses, 96 to 97 percent of the students are on free or reduced cost lunch, (you know that) for some of these kids, families are having tough times,” Barbara White said.
White has helped coordinate an annual school supply drive in Texas City for more than 16 years.
White works with the Texas City Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association and the Texas City Noon Lions Club for the drive, with collection
boxes at a variety of area businesses and at city hall. The drive also includes a one-day event at local Kroger stores Saturday.
Supplies are gathered, sorted by volunteers and delivered to schools the day before teachers arrive. Parents can contact school counselors to sign up for the service.
“It’s tough on teachers when kiddos don’t have tools they need to participate,” said White, who estimated the value of donated supplies at $1,200. “We feel it’s important we help them so that they can teach our children.”
The story is repeated across the county. Clear Creek ISD works with Interfaith Caring Ministries, Communities in Schools, Kroger and several faith-based partners to provide school supplies for families.
“We really appreciate the help the district receives every year to make sure our students have what they need to be successful in school,” said Connie Hughes, a CCISD At Risk department employee.
Last year, some 150 backpacks stuffed with school supplies were distributed. Last year’s Stuff the Bus event at the Kroger grocery store at Interstate 45 and FM 518 provided supplies totaling more than $5,000. This year’s Stuff the Bus takes place Aug. 14.
Galveston ISD hosts an annual Back to School Fair to connect with district families. Eligible families can pick up school supplies and sign up for free uniforms at the event set for Aug. 16. Also scheduled for the event are University of Texas Medical Branch staff administering free immunizations.
“It’s really a one-stop shop for all your back-to-school needs,” said Johnston Farrow, GISD communications specialist.
GISD also has streamlined its supply lists this year, culling them down to one basic list for all elementary school students and one for middle school students.
“For the most part, the lists encompass all the bare necessities needed through the school year,” Farrow said.
For homeless families, the district has a special program. Kelley Romar, GISD project coordinator working with homeless and displaced students, counts on a variety of businesses and organizations to provide resources. She has helped with the project, titled the Discovery Club, for 13 years now.
“We’re getting a lot of support from several organizations; we’re getting support from sororities and fraternities and we’re getting phone calls from people, asking how can we help,” Romar said.
“We appreciate every bit of help they can give,” White said.
“These children are our future and we need to make sure they get a good education.”
School supply drives, events
Now through Saturday, the Texas City Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association and the Texas City Noon Lions Club will be collecting school supplies for students in the Texas City Independent School District at AMOCO Federal Credit Union, Benny’s Liquor, Texas City City Hall, Gonzo’s Family Hair Care, Kroger, Texas First Bank, TSO and Stewart Title. There also will be a drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Kroger. Call Barbara White, 409-739-2268.
On Saturday, the Triple ’B’ Riding and Charity Club of Texas City-La Marque will have its annual School Supply Drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Partner’s Rental, 5510 FM 1765. Take your child and receive a pack of supplies to help with the 2013-14 school year. The club also will be selling barbecue sausages-on-a-stick and turkey legs. Call 409-996-6639 or 409-599-8322.
Stuff the Bus campaign presented by Cox Media Group Houston, Kroger and Channel 57 The KUBE, runs through Aug. 18 in Galveston and Houston area Kroger stores. Customers can buy $7 prepackaged school supply kits or donate at the register. For the Clear Creek ISD campaign, the Kroger grocery store at Interstate 45 and FM 518 200 Gulf Freeway in League City will hold on-site Stuff the Bus events on Aug. 14.
Now through Aug. 23, the University of Texas Medical Branch will host a School Supply Drive sponsored by the department of pediatrics at the medical branch to help disadvantaged GISD students and UTMB pediatrics patients. Items requested include spiral notebooks, No. 2 pencils, binders, backpacks, rulers, flash drives, construction paper, combination locks and highlighters. Items can be dropped off in the main lobby of John Sealy Hospital at Eighth and Market streets or in Research Building No. 6 (formerly the Children’s Hospital) Room 3.300 on the UTMB campus. Contact Tayna Vazquez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 409-772-5270. Visit www.utmb.edu/newsroom/article8801.aspx.
The Galveston Independent School District Back to School Fair will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 16 at The San Luis Convention Center, 5600 Seawall Blvd., in Galveston. Offerings include school registration, including prekindergarten and elementary, transportation registration, sign up for free uniforms, Child Nutrition sign up, free school supplies for eligible families, information about the new STAAR state assessments and information about specialized programs in GISD schools. There also will be an opportunity to sign up for before and after-school activities through 21st Century Centers for Learning/ACE program. Visit www.gisd.org. The district’s new simplified elementary and middle school supply lists are posted on the website as well.
The Discovery Program for homeless and displaced students in Galveston ISD accepts monetary donations throughout the year. Call Kelley Romar, 409-939-7418.
La Marque Aid and Guidance, 320 Laurel St., in La Marque, will be signing up eligible families for assistance for supplies, uniforms and shoes from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays today through Aug. 19. Call 409-938-7852.
M.I. Lewis Social Service Center has a program to provide basic school supplies to disadvantaged students in the Dickinson Independent School District. Registration to receive school supplies for the 2013-14 school year continues through Friday. Call 281-534-2043 or visit www.milewisctr.org.
Details to note
Hitchcock Independent School District will offer its free Bulldog Boot Camp today through Thursday and Aug. 12-15 at Hitchcock High School, 6629 FM 2004.
Free sessions in math and English language arts for seventh through 12th grades and a free Spanish refresher course for 10th through 12th grades will be offered. Call Steve Adamson, 409-316-6545, Ext. 1441, or email email@example.com.
There also will be an ESL refresher course for kindergarten through fourth grades at Hitchcock Primary School. Call 409-316-6467.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Transportation also will be provided, but must be prearranged by calling one of the numbers provided.
Holy Family Catholic School in Galveston will have its Back-to-School Orientation at 6 p.m. Thursday at 2601 Ursuline, in Galveston. Call 409-765-6607.
Registration for the Galveston Independent School District’s Head Start pre-K Program will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Galveston Island Convention Center, 5600 Seawall Blvd., in Galveston.
Children must be 3 or 4 by Sept. 1. Call Mary Patrick, 409-766-5172. Visit www.gisd.org.
Back to School events will be held at St. John’s UMC, 409-655-5348, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 17 in Texas City; and at Bay Oaks Health Care from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 409-938-8431 or 917-960-6255, 424 Tarpey Road N., in Texas City. There will be a moonwalk, clowns, face painting, refreshments and more.
The Glamour for Grammar Fashion Show fundraiser benefiting Newspapers in Education will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at Kemah Boardwalk, 215 Kipp Ave., in Kemah. Visit www.glamourforgrammar.com.