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Community pitches in with supplies

By Sarah L. Smith
Coastal Observer

Waccamaw Neck teachers said they try to help parents save money on back-to-school items.

“I try to keep it simple,” said Andria Eddy, a second-grade teacher at Waccamaw Elementary.

She tries to think of her own days as a young parent when she creates her list. Her students only needed composition notebooks, crayons and pencils.

“If you have several children in school, it can add up,” Waccamaw Intermediate principal Tim Carnahan said.

Jennifer Scully, a parent of a first-, third- and fifth-grader, appreciated the simple lists. In May, she used the money her children received after selling wrapping paper in an elementary school fund-raising program to buy supplies. She knew what to expect because the basic supply lists didn’t change.

Even with simpler lists, some students still need help getting supplies.

Approximately 100 students at Teach My People benefited from Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church’s supply drive. Church members purchased notebooks, paper, pencils, erasers, folders, clothes and 100 backpacks.

First- through fifth-graders received a new outfit and backpack, and all students at Teach My People picked out supplies. Extra items went to other Georgetown County families.

“We have a couple other people in Georgetown who will call from the school system,” Rene Preedom, a parishioner at the church, said. “We don’t advertise. I think it’s just word of mouth. I know a couple of mothers called us last year, and they said a friend had told them.”

State Rep. Vida Miller gave 250 backpacks filled with school supplies to Georgetown County schools.

“As we have seen the economy fluctuate over the last year, many parents have struggled to figure out how they will be able to purchase supplies for their children,” Miller said.

As a result, she applied to Office Depot Foundation’s national backpack program and the National Foundation for Women Legislators to help children in House District 108.

“This is a wonderful program, and I look forward to working with the Office Depot Foundation in the future on behalf of the National Foundation for Women Legislators,” Miller said.

The Georgetown County School District also helped get children ready for school with its Fill the Bus campaign, a supply drive held on tax-free weekend.

David Almonte, a district systems data analyst, runs the program.

Anyone can contribute supplies during the year, but on that one weekend, the district puts buses at the Wal-mart in Georgetown, K-mart in Murrells Inlet, and Fred’s in Andrews to collect supplies.

“Those small things make for a great year because you’re prepared,” Preedom said.

Almonte keeps supplies in the district office.

“Any child who needs supplies should talk to someone at their school, and we should be able to help them out,” Almonte said.

If parents don’t ask for assistance, teachers will.

Waccamaw Middle School principal William Dwyer said his teachers will contact him when they identify a child in need. He’ll confer with the district, and the district gives students donated items.

“I give them a week,” Eddy said. “If I see they don’t have something, I go down to the office and let them know.”

Just as teachers make sure students have the right supplies, they also tell students if they bring too many.

Having excessive pens, pencils, notebooks and binders hurts students’ organization, said Barbara O’Neill, a sixth-grade teacher at Waccamaw Intermediate. When kids bring too many items, she encourages them to store the extras and bring them to school as needed.

O’Neill pointed to a student’s desk with two pencil boxes. One was filled with white board markers and the other with pencils and highlighters.

“They don’t need all this,” she said. “I tell my kids less is more.”

The Georgetown County School District accepts school supplies all year.

To make donations, call Almonte at 436-7160.

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