SouthfieldAugust 7, 2012
Supply drives help kids prepare for school
By Jessica Strachan
C & G Staff Writer
SOUTHFIELD — To help ensure local students are ready to give it their all when the first bell of the school year sounds Sept. 4, school supplies are being collected around town this month.
The goal to fill a giant yellow school bus is a big one. While the Southfield Public Schools’ Stuff the Bus event doesn’t happen every year, when the need arises, teachers and administration take notice and act, they say.
“We don’t do it every year, but we’ve done it before and notice the need. Our families need assistance now,” said Jacqueline Robinson, marketing and public relations manager with the district. “Our district was considered affluent at one time. We didn’t have a lot of kids who qualified for free and reduced lunches, but our whole nation and our region is facing a downturn in the economy.”
Robsinson said 60 percent of Southfield Public Schools students now qualify for the lunch program, which signals that there might be a need elsewhere for students and families.
“(We’ll do) anything we can do to make sure our kids have everything they need. That way, parents don’t have to worry about pens, paper, notebooks, etc.,” she said. “That’s one more hurdle parents don’t have to get over.”
The first of three drives for Stuff the Bus happened at the Michigan First Credit Union in Lathrup Village Aug. 3. In just a matter of hours, more than an estimated $3,000 in items was donated, with still a half day left to go, Robinson explained. At that particular drive, Office Depot partnered with the district to set up a table and sell school supplies to bank patrons who could then take them out to the bus.
Sandra Tomlin, vice president of community relations at Michigan First, said it was the perfect day to host a drive there – A Friday that coincided with the first day of the month and payday for many people coming into the bank.
“It’s a very busy day around here, and traffic was very heavy this morning,” she said the day of the drive. “It looks like it’s been a very good response, and it’s another way to share an opportunity with the community to help supply much-needed school supplies to the students in the district.”
With Michigan First, a long-time support of the Southfield Public Schools, kicking the Stuff the Bus series off to a good start, two more opportunities will round out the drive: The next drive will happen 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at Sam’s Club, 22500 Eight Mile Road in Southfield, and the final drive will run 1-6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Southfield Public Library. At both of these locations, patrons can drop off their donations directly onto the bus, though Office Depot will not be on hand selling supplies.
The donated items will be distributed throughout the schools to be ready for eager students ready to start off the school year with a bang.
“We just want to make sure our students are ready from day one to learn. Offering that support for parents and students helps them ease into that transition,” Robinson added. “We want everyone off to a great start.”
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