Fort Wayne Community Schools handed out 300 backpacks Friday to students, packed with supplies for the school year.
The Salvation Army on Monday said it plans to provide between 800 and 1,000 more.
Despite those numbers, local districts report that dozens – if not hundreds – of students return to class each year without the necessary supplies.
East Allen County School students head back to class today, followed by Northwest Allen and Southwest Allen students on Wednesday.
Fort Wayne Community School students will board the buses on Aug. 19.
Although the number of EACS students needing supplies varies from school to school, there’s no doubt that the need exists, said spokeswoman Tamyra Kelly.
One attendance area may have a greater need with nearly a hundred students needing supplies whereas another attendance area may only have a handful of students in need, Kelly said.
Fort Wayne Community Schools face a similar challenge when it comes to preparing students for class, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said.
On Friday, the district handed out 300 backpacks to local students and although that’s a start, there are still many students who will return to school without the proper supplies, she said.
About 70 percent of the districts’ students qualify for free- and reduced-price lunches, she said.
Other students may collect supplies from organizations such as The Salvation Army or local groups that collect backpacks to be distributed, she added.
Even with all that, we still have kids that don’t have supplies, Stockman said.
Local parents and students who need school supplies can visit The Salvation Army today and Wednesday to apply for a backpack filled with pens, pencils and other back-to-school items.
The Salvation Army’s Tools for Schools program provides new back-to-school supplies for Allen County families who can’t afford to provide their children with the necessary supplies.
The book bags are packed with pens, pencils, notebook, paper, crayons, rulers, erasers and other grade-specific items that students are expected to have on their first day of school, Salvation Army spokesman Tim Smith said.
We take a look at the requirements from the different schools and grades and divide things up according to that, he said. They might not have everything they need, but we’re hoping to take care of the bulk of it.
Organizers hope the backpacks will reach about 1,000 students, depending on how many families are waiting to register.
I’m sure we’ll have at least that many families out there hoping to receive supplies, Smith said.
Last year, the group had to close the doors early, despite the approximately 30 families waiting outside for registration, he said.
I’m guessing we have enough (school supplies) at this point to help about 800 people, Smith said.
The Salvation Army will continue to accept donations for the Tools for Schools program through Wednesday but also accepts monetary donations and other supplies to assist families in need during the school year.
We want to have something on hand if we have families that are in need because of house fires or people moving into town, Smith said.
Other school supply drives and donation sites include:
Today through Friday– during National Immunization Awareness month – the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health will provide free school supplies such as crayons, pencils, highlighters and jump drives to school-aged children who receive a vaccination.
The Glynn Hines Back to School Fatherhood Initiative will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at McMillen Community Center, 3901 Abbott St.
The Active 20-30 Club of Fort Wayne will treat 35 underprivileged children from Big Brothers Big Sisters to a shopping spree today at the Apple Glen Kohl’s off Illinois Road. The club took 35 students from Euell A. Wilson Center on a similar shopping trip Thursday, spending $100 per student.
The Net Literacy iTeam will host a back to school computer drive Aug. 21 to 24 at Anthis Career Center, 1200 S. Barr St. Requirements include Pentium II or newer computers, monitor, mouse, keyboard and power cord. The computers will be refurbished to be used by the underserved in the community. Drop off hours are 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 21 and 23 and 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 22 and 24.
Centers for Pain Relief, 7900 W. Jefferson Blvd., is collecting school supplies for the Boys and Girls Clubs through Aug. 20. Supplies include crayons, markers, paper, pencils, rulers, erasers, glue, folders, calculators, pencil boxes, binders, book bags and clothing. Items can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 6819 Lima Road and 7900 W. Jefferson Blvd., Suite 306.
Today through Sunday, supplies will be accepted at Staples, 4408 Illinois Road in Fort Wayne and 1211 N. Wayne St. in Angola. All of the donations will benefit students at the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne.