Operation School Supplies going strong in fourth year

By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 10:01 am on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Area organizations are teaming up to provide students in need with back-to-school supplies like the ones pictured above. Coined Operation School Supplies, the program accepts donated school supplies and provides them to hundreds of students in Greenville-area schools. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

GREENVILLE — Believe it or not, another school year is just around the corner and area organizations are teaming up to provide local students in need with back-to-school supplies.

The Operation School Supplies program accepts donated supplies and provides them to hundreds of students in Greenville-area schools.

“There are kids in our school district whose parents don’t have the funds for school supplies,” said Dee Veitengruber of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, one of the organizations hosting the program. “When you have three to four kids in a family, that becomes burdensome, especially at the beginning of the school year when you’re buying clothes.”

With 19 drop boxes placed around the community, Operation School Supplies is accepting a wide range of school materials for students. Sought after items include backpacks, lined paper, color crayons, colored pencils, blue/black ink pens, No. 2 pencils, erasers, pencil boxes, school folders, rulers, children’s scissors, glue sticks and highlighters.

Each student who registers for the program, which is now in its fourth year, will receive at least one of each item to begin the new school year.

“Last year we served over 250 kids and the need grows each year,” said Tina Packard of Greenville Community Church, which helps organize the program. “We’re hoping to get as many kids as we can to give them a jump start on the school year. We want to help them with their education and succeed.”

Tina Packard of Greenville Community Church, which helps organize the school supplies program, is shown with one of the 19 drop boxes around Montcalm County. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

Thanks to a $3,500 grant from the Greenville Area Community Foundation, supplies in addition to those donated can be purchased to ensure each student in need will receive the full gambit of supplies.

Operation School Supplies will continue to collect supplies until Aug. 18 at many donation boxes set up throughout the Greenville area (see info box).

Once the collection is complete, the supplies will be available at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, located at 908 W. Oak St. in Greenville, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Aug. 23 for those who registered.

“We set it up like a shopping store and we let them try to be their own person and chose their own colors and their own items,” Packard said.

Parents can register their children for the program by contacting their child’s elementary school or by calling Packard at (616) 225-2105. Any student grade pre-k through 12 in the Greenville Public Schools system (which includes Grattan Academy and St. Charles Parish School) is eligible to sign up. Students who do not register by the Aug. 15 deadline will be able to select from the remaining items from 10:30 to 11 a.m.

And after each of the students who come through the doors is able to select supplies for the upcoming school year, the leftover items will still make their way to the classroom.

Any remaining school items will be distributed to area elementary schools to be used throughout the year.

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