School Supply Closet opens in Sterling

Online Staff Report

Crayons continually break, and students run out of glue and paper, Dillon Elementary School Principal Brody Rude said. So he welcomes a supplemental source for children who are in need of free school supplies throughout the year.

The School Supply Closet will open Thursday, Nov. 15, in the parsonage of Trinity United Methodist Church, 910 Second Ave., Sterling. The closet will provide qualifying children with supplies for school. “We feel if a student has the tools they need in the classroom, they will succed,” said Bonnie Donnell, one of the organizers.

The closet was born of Monday-night gatherings of women in the church, Donnell said. They got involved in the Seeds to Succeed program, an initiative of the church’s conference. Other church members and other community membres then got involved.

Bookbags were given to schools at the beginning of the year, Donnell said, but it soon.became apparent that needs arise mid-year as well.

“We found that there’s a problem when kids run out of supplies,” she said. “Teachers were trying to furnish supplies themselves out of their own pocket.”

The organizers used supply lists from area schools and bought items that most often appeared on the lists. They are now stocked with pencils, pens, notebooks, paper, hand sanitizer, flashcards and many other items.

Fifty vouchers have been provided to each private and public school in Sterling and Rock Falls and to Sauk Valley Community College. The schools may give the vouchers to students who need them. A student and/or parent can take the voucher to the supply closet for any supplies needed. Teachers may also use the vouchers to pick up supplies for their students.

The supply closet will be opoen all year round to accommodate summer school and Sauk students. Beginning Thursday, Nov. 15, the closet will be open from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. An open house will begin at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Refreshments will be served, and door prizes will be given.

At Dillon, 75 percent of students are from families with incomes low enough to qualify them for free or reduced-price lunches, Rude said.

“I think it’s going to be a great supplemental source,” Rude said of the closet. “It’s nice to see organizations working with one another.”

The closet needs volunteers and donations of money and supplies, Donnell said. Anyone interested in donating to the School Supply Closet may contact Bonnie Donnell at (815) 441-1988 or Cheryle Colmark at (815) 441-8652.

Posted Nov. 14, 2012

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