Area businesses, charities and other programs are seeking supplies to help kids be ready for school.

“We give supplies directly to students, so they don’t have to go to school for handouts,” said Jennifer Hollingshead, customer service representative of Juanita Blair Farmers Insurance Agency.

Blair’s agency has held school supply giveaways each August since 2008 and are seeking help for this year’s event, set for Aug. 2. The agency seeks monetary donations as well as supplies, Hollingshead said.

“The main things we need are loose leaf paper, pencils, erasers, scissors and markers,” Hollingshead said. “We collect the supplies and bag them according to grade.”

Monetary donations also are appreciated because the agency buys many supplies in bulk, she said.

“A really big help in the past has been churches that have put up donation boxes,” Hollingshead said.

Muskogee Public Schools begins its school year Aug. 13. Hilldale resumes classes Aug. 14.

TTCU, The Credit Union, will collect supplies at all its branches, including Muskogee and Tahlequah, through Aug. 31. People may make monetary donations or donate school supplies at any TTCU branch. Supplies collected at the Muskogee branch will go for Blair’s back-to-school drive, according to a media release.

The Martin Luther King Center also seeks school supply donations for its Back to School, Stay in School event, set for 5 p.m. Aug. 9.

MLK Center Director Derrick Reed said the center accepts “any type of school supplies — pencils, crayons, anything that needs to be donated.”

He said the drive is especially seeking pencils, glue sticks, loose leaf paper, and folders in binders.

Muskogee Public Schools transportation department is seeking supplies through its annual Operation Pencil Box.

MPS Transportation Director Bobby Brewster said the drive seeks school supplies to fill 100 pencil boxes. Items going into the boxes are blunt-nosed scissors, 24-pack crayons, two glue sticks, two packs of No. 2 pencils, two erasers and one pack of colored pencils, he said.

The drive also seeks plastic pencil boxes, he said.

FIRSTAR Bank will hold its collection drive through July 31.

Ginger Batson, FIRSTAR senior vice president of marketing, said the drive is in its 13th year and collects about 1,200 items per year.

All donations go to schools in the Muskogee and Hilldale school districts, Batson said. Collection sites include both FIRSTAR branches, Office Depot, Arrowhead Mall, Kmart and Muskogee Public Library.

In Tahlequah, the Zoe Institute is working with the Cherokee County Christian Ministerial Alliance and other organizations for its annual giveaway Aug. 2 at First United Methodist Church of Tahlequah.

Zoe Institute Executive Director Rhonda Clemons Hill, said the Institute seeks supplies to fill 500 backpacks.

Muskogee’s Ark of Faith seeks backpacks, pencils, pens, notebooks and other items. Ark Executive Director Sally Weiesnbach said supplies are needed for students in grades 1 to 12.

“Our oldest student we helped was a 56-year-old veteran,” Weiesnbach said, adding that the veteran was attending Indian Capital Technology Center.

“He came to the Ark to get food and clothing and saw the notebooks and said ‘I need these,’” she said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

Area school supply campaigns

• Operation Pencil Box, Muskogee Public Schools Transportation Department Office, 621 Altamont St. Cash donations are not accepted.

 • Juanita Blair Farmers Insurance Agency annual drive. Bring monetary or supply donations to Juanita Blair Farmers Insurance, 112, E. Peak Blvd.

• TTCU, The Credit Union. Collecting supplies at its Muskogee branch, 3801 W. Okmulgee Ave., and Tahlequah branch, 778 E. Fourth St.

• Martin Luther King Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, 627 N. Third St.

• Ark of Faith, 401 E. Broadway.

• FIRSTAR Bank, collecting school supplies through July 31. Collection box locations include bank branches, 2215 Chandler Road and 510 Main St.; Arrowhead Mall, 501 N. Main St.; Muskogee Public Library, 801 E. Okmulgee Ave.; Office Depot, 201 W. Martin Luther King St.; Kmart, 4 E. Shawnee Bypass.

• Zoe Institute, 1009 S. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah.

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