By Linda Dillman
While the status of what school looks like for the 2020-21 year is uncertain, one thing is clear—students still need school supplies and for families impacted by economic uncertainty, every dollar counts.
Tools for School—a Canal Winchester Human Services program—bridges that financial gap by providing book bags filled with grade-appropriate supplies to students in the Canal Winchester and Bloom-Carroll school districts.
“Our founders were very involved with the community and identified a need to provide school supplies to children. As the need grew, we established the program Tools for School to fill the gap,” said Human Services Director Aletha Mullins.
Backpacks are distributed in August, and as needs arise throughout the year, Human Services fills those needs by coordinating with individual teachers.
During the 2019-20 school term, 165 backpacks were handed out. The organization helped distribute school supplies starting in 1965, but the Tools for School program has been in operation for at least 16 years.
“Between buying new clothes, paying for sports, and paying school fees, there are a lot of expenses each fall,” said Mullins. “School supplies are essential but can be expensive, especially for larger families. Students need to feel that they are prepared for the school year, and if they don’t have supplies, they will feel like they are not prepared and they don’t fit in compared to their peers. It is so important – not just academically, but emotionally.”
Churches in Canal Winchester and Lithopolis, the city of Canal Winchester, the city’s Senior Citizen Center, and NBC 4 have all partnered with Human Services to collect school supplies and backpacks for students. This is the second year human services has partnered with NBC 4 in collecting school supplies.
According to Mullins, highlighters, markers, dry erase markers, 2-inch binders, glue sticks, graph paper and ear buds are the most needed. New backpacks and standard supplies like pens, pencils, markers, paper, tissues and composition books are also desired.
Supply donations can be dropped off at the following locations: Gender Road Christian Church, David’s Evangelical Church, David’s United Church of Christ, Hope United Methodist, Peace Lutheran Church, New Faith Church and Canal Winchester Human Services.