People can find — and offer — help getting school supplies for students preparing for the coming school year.
Several businesses, churches and agencies are collecting items to ensure all students have the school supplies they need when they arrive for the first day of class. Supplies will be distributed at various events planned during the course of the next few weeks.
Firstar Bank geared up for what will be its 15th annual school supply drive. Collections will continue through July 31 at seven locations in Muskogee. Ginger Batson, senior vice president for marketing, said the bank hopes to collect at least 2,000 items this year — that’s what past drives have netted.
“The supplies will be given to each school in the Hilldale and Muskogee school districts,” Batson said.
All types of supplies are needed: paper, pencils, erasers, glue, rulers, coloring pencils, highlighters, crayons, scissors and notebooks. Monetary donations, to help the bank buy school supplies, may be given at either Firstar location, 510 N. Main St. or 2215 Chandler Road.
Cook Portable Warehouses, 7 E. Shawnee Bypass, will begin collecting school supplies on Aug. 1 and continue through Aug. 17. There also will be a collection party from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 13 at the dealership.
Owner Mike Cook said people can bring school supplies or donations to the event, which will feature snow cones, cotton candy and inflatable attractions. Cook said this will be the second year the dealership has held a drive.
“We collected about $400 worth of supplies last year,” he said, noting that was enough to help them fill 80 to 100 backpacks with supplies. Those were donated to Muskogee Public Schools, but Cook said this year’s drive might be expanded this year beyond MPS.
Brooks Detail Service, 112 E. Okmulgee Ave., is collecting supplies for a back to school event Aug. 27 at Honor Heights Park.
“Our goal is to get 500 backpacks,” owner Carnell Brooks said. “We’re also collecting crayons, pencils, paper, different types of folders.”
Brooks said supplies are needed for children from pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade. The company’s efforts in 2015 filled about 300 backpacks with supplies.
“Each year, we try to add 100 more," he said.
Boulevard Christian Church, 1700 W. Shawnee Bypass, will accept donations of both clothing and school supplies for its extravaganza, which is scheduled Aug. 6.
“People can donate new or gently used clothing, from size 4 to adult,” Boulevard community care team leader Marcia Gideon said. “A lot of children in high school and middle school wear adult sizes, so the adult clothes should be teen-appropriate.”
Gideon said people who need clothing or supplies may register at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 6. Applicants will be escorted through the clothing and supply room, where they may fill bags, Gideon said. A donation of $1 per child is suggested.
Muskogee County Community Action Foundation will give away free school supplies for income-eligible families in Muskogee County during an event planned from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 1 and 3. That event will take place at Hilldale Springs Townhomes, 2400 Hilldale Springs Drive.
MCCAF Executive Director James Ezell said the foundation plans to give away 500 packets of supplies. Eligibility requires that household incomes be no more than $16,020 for two people, $20,160 for a family of three, $24,300 for a family of four, and $28,000 for households with five people — the threshold continues to increase by about $4,140 for each additional family member.
Those who plan to seek MCCAF assistance must provide the following documentation upon application:
• Proof of household income.
• Social Security cards for each household member.
• Proof of residency, such as a utility bill.
• Driver’s license or Oklahoma identification card issued to the head of the household.
Ezell said the foundation bought the school supplies and are assembling them in bags. The supplies will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to any eligible Muskogee County household.
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.