Donations for school supply drive collected through Aug. 6

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 28, 2021

Shutterstock image

Advertisement

ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The start of the school year is just around the corner, and the Rochester Area Neighborhood House is doing its part to make sure students in need are prepared.

The nonprofit is hosting the Blast Off 2 School supply drive to provide school supplies, back-to-school clothing and over 400 backpacks to children. Individuals, organizations and businesses can help by donating school supplies through Aug. 6.

Kathy Losinski, the executive director of the Neighborhood House, said the community doesn’t always recognize that one in four local households exist on a subsistence income and has little to no money for extras.

“When extraordinary events occur, like back-to-school, they have to make hard choices about where they will spend their money. This program will serve 450 local students that experience income insufficiency and are at risk for being inadequately prepared to make a fresh start in the new school year,” Losinski said in an email.

This year, the following items are especially needed, according to Neighborhood House officials: plastic, solid color two-pocket folders without prongs; 1-inch three-ring binders; college-ruled spiral one-subject notebooks; and highlighters. Additional needed supplies include three-ring binders, pointed tip scissors, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, colored pencils, dry erase markers, washable markers, binder dividers and more. A complete list of school supply wish list items can be found at www.ranh.org, click the link at the top of the page to the Blast Off 2 School wish list on Amazon.

Michele Knoblauch, a volunteer coordinator for the Neighborhood House, said the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the economic struggles of many families and impacted local businesses.

“Oftentimes we’ll have a lot of organizations that support us, but since people are still working from home, we were not very successful in finding a lot of organizations to support us. We’re really looking toward the community again this year, and we have a very long list of items with quantities of supply items that we need,” she said.

School supplies can be dropped off at Ram’s Horn, 1990 S. Rochester Road in Rochester Hills; the Rochester Hills Public Library, 500 Olde Towne Road in Rochester; the Rochester Fire Station, 277 E. Second St.; the Auburn Hills City Manager’s Office, 1827 N. Squirrel Road; the Paint Creek Cider Mill, 4480 Orion Road; and the Neighborhood House main office, 1720 S. Livernois Road.

Losinski said studies show that children who start school with appropriate supplies benefit from increased self-esteem, are more engaged in their classwork and are more likely to stay in school.

“By donating even one item to our school supply drive, we join together to give these kids the successful start they deserve,” she said.

The Blast Off 2 School event will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Neighborhood House Food Pantry, 1315 N. Pine St. in Rochester. Eligible families must register by Aug. 4 at www.ranh.org/get-help and choose an appointment time to pick up their supplies from the curb.

The program is free for families with children ages 4-18 who qualify for Medicaid or free and reduced lunch programs, and who live within the Neighborhood House service area of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Oakland Township, Leonard and Addison Township.

Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital will be providing free health screenings and sports physicals to all Blast Off 2 School eligible students 3-7:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Neighborhood House’s main office located at 1720 S. Livernois in Rochester Hills. Students must qualify for Medicaid or free and reduced lunch programs to have a health screening or sports physical, and they should register at www.ranh.org/get-help.

Organizers say the annual Blast Off 2 School event has impacted hundreds of local families over the years and reached a total of 450 children in 2020.

“This year we are expecting more people to be looking for school supplies compared to last year, because last year, there was so much uncertainty that I felt like people weren’t ready to go back to school,” Knoblauch added.

Neighborhood House provides rent and utility financial assistance, operates a food pantry and clothes closet, offers transportation services, provides counseling, facilitates educational programs for families in need, and more. Last year, the Neighborhood House’s programs helped over 3,000 households on their path from financial crisis to self-sustainability.

To register for the event, visit www.ranh.org/get-help or call (248) 651-5836, ext. 21. To volunteer for the Neighborhood House, email volunteer@ranh.org or call (248) 651-5836, ext. 15.

Advertisement