Free School Supplies Demand Increases, Donations Decrease

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

It's the most basic of back to school necessities that mid-Michigan families are struggling to provide for their kids.

"Because of the economy in Michigan, it seems to cause families to really reach out," said Carolyn Stone of the Lansing School District.

In fact, the Capital Area United Way says 211 calls for requests for help with school supplies increased 85 percent from last year and requests for back to school clothing increased 25 percent.

"What they're saying is because of the economy budgets are stretched really thin, a lot of parents are unemployed right now, and they just don't have the funds available," said Suzanne Eman-Jaehnig of the Capital Area United Way.

Wednesday the Lansing School District got a bit of help with the demand -- receiving dozens of boxes of school supplies from MSU's fill the bus drive, but even with the help they say donations have diminished.

"In years past we have always tried to at least supply 3,000 school supply bags, I think we're under that this year, just because of the budget cuts," said Stone.

While agencies like the Black Child and Family Institute have collected nearly 200 backpacks, many of them are still empty because they just don't have the supplies to fill them.

"Not even quite half of them are filled, so we're still very much in need of basic back to school supplies," said Program Director Jennifer McCoy.

Their goal was to collect 400 backpacks before Saturday, and with only half of that goal completed, McCoy says they're calling on the community to step in.

"We really need people to step up and provide dictionaries and protractors," McCoy said.

"We'll take whatever we can get," Stone said.

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 4, 2009 at 05:11 AM
    Donations are getting slim in many areas.As more loose jobs,more can't give and now need help themselves.There just isn't enough help out there.Poverty is going wild.What does the government say?Cut more programs or welfare to the poor.Surely don't make sense in these hard times.Even second hand stores are not doing well.Food banks aren't getting whats needed either.What is going to happen to all those needing?
  • by tina Location: mich on Sep 3, 2009 at 06:27 AM
    Many incomes are not doing well.stories like this prove it.Jobs just aren't there.Many will loose unemployment.If gov cuts welfare many will be living below poverty.Many will loose places they live ect.illness will spread,and crime will rise.People can't give what they no longer can afford.It is a time to raise taxes on bigger incomes.Those people are the ones jenn just don't want to step on their toes.People didn't want to loose jobs either.No more than people wanted to become disable and not be able to work.There is a long list of what puts people in poverty.It does start with government caused and goes from there.Many suffer from not having a lot of things.Just like many areas don't even get help from a program like this.If one CAN give and just don't what is their life worth.Some continue to assume stuff will be taken care of.It don't work that way.
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