By Natalie Simms
In less than a month, local students will return to the classroom. The start of the school year can be a big expense for families with the purchase of school supplies, backpacks, lunchboxes, new clothes and shoes among the necessities.
Locally, there are many families who struggle to purchase school supplies for their children, thus placing a burden on teachers and local schools to provide needed items. To help meet this need, several organizations and churches across the area are hosting several events and/or making donations to local schools to help with school supplies.
The YMCA of Rome-Floyd County will be collecting donations of school supplies to distribute to estimated 250 kids who have regularly been attending their summer feeding program. The YMCA summer feeding sites include the Tamassee Apartments in West Rome, Alto Park School playground, Gilbreath Center in Lindale, Green & Gold NWGAHA (Green and Gold Blvd.) and Restoration Rome/Fielder Center (former Southeast Elementary).
What’s needed: New/unused markers, backpacks, safety scissors, crayons, hand sanitizer, Expo markers, paper towels and Clorox wipes. Items can be dropped off at YMCA on Second Avenue by Friday, July 27. Items will be distributed to children at the end of July.
Pleasant Valley South Baptist Church is hosting a Back-to-School event for families of Pepperell Primary and Pepperell Elementary School only from 9 a.m. to noon at the Gilbreath Center in Lindale. Students in Pre-K through 5th grade will be given school supplies and sack lunch. In addition, there will be games, free hearing exams, eye exams, dental exams and haircuts available. Details
100 Black Men of Rome and Northwest Georgia will be hosting a Back-to-School Youth Summerfest on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bert Woods Youth Athletic Complex, 605 Lynton Dr. in Cedartown. The event will include kids’ activities, entertainment, food, mentoring, coaching and fun for the entire family. Details
Bartow Give a Kid a Chance returns this year to give an estimated 2,500 Bartow County children in need a backpack, school supplies, t-shirt, haircut and health screenings free of charge. There will be two locations this year including the Bartow College and Career Academy, 738 Grassdale Rd. in Cartersville, and Allatoona Resource Center, 6503 Glade Rd. in Acworth. The Cartersville location will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Acworth from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. About 350 volunteers are still needed to help, please visit the website to sign-up. Children must be registered for the event by today, July 16. Details
“Every year we serve 2,500 children. We still need volunteers to serve at both locations,” says Barbara Hoffman, director of Bartow Give a Kid a Chance. “We’ve been preparing for the last 10 months for this event. It costs us a minimum of $35,000 to provide supplies. So there is a lot that goes into this.”
The Coosa Valley Fraternal Order of Police is setting up a clothes closet at all Rome City and Floyd County primary, elementary and middle schools. The goal is to have underwear, socks, belts, pants and shirts for kids who may have an accident at school or who may not be able to afford fresh clothing.
“We have found there is a need for clothes to be kept at school in case something happens to their clothing,” says Sgt. Chris Fincher with Floyd Police and president of CVFOP. “We have heard so many stories of kids who come to school wearing the same pair of pants everyday because their family can’t afford any clothes.”
Fincher says the CVFOP will be raising funds to take leaders from each school shopping to purchase items for their school closet, similar to how their Shop with a Cop program works at Christmas. They hope to get the closets set up by early September. In the meantime, monetary donations are needed by Aug. 31 and be made to the CVFOP PayPal account.
Helping Educators Lift Potential (H.E.L.P.) Program
North Rome Church of God is providing school supplies to four local schools this year through their Helping Educators Lift Potential (H.E.L.P.) program. Each year the church helps two City schools and two County schools. This year’s benefactors are East Central, Anna K. Davie, McHenry and Johnson Elementary.
“All teachers bear a tremendous burden in providing supplies, so we try to relieve that as best we can,” says All Gallant, program leader. “So, we pick four schools to help each year and send those teachers a wish list of items they would like to have in their classroom. Then we raise money through business sponsors and donations from our church family and attempt to fill the wish lists.”
The H.E.L.P. program will be helping 83 teachers this school year. Items they will be donating includes specialty items for music classes, electric pencil sharpeners, specialty markers, craft sets and general school supplies. Monetary donations can be made year-round to North Rome Church of God indicating the H.E.L.P. program.
The Rome Junior Service League has been providing school supplies for children in need since 2004 through their League4Learning program. Through their fundraising projects such as the annual Poinsetta sale, Garden Tour and Follies, the organization solely funds the program that purchases and distributes supplies to area primary, elementary and middle schools.
“We donate school supplies to all Rome City and Floyd County schools that are distributed to students at the discretion of the school staff and administration,” says Ashley Marie Rish with JSL.
“When we began the program in 2004, a total of 545 students were served. For the 2018-2019 school year, we will serve over 2,200 students. The League4Learning project is funded entirely by the Junior Service League. The more the community supports us in these endeavors, the more school supplies we are able to purchase and ultimately give back to the children of Rome/Floyd County.”