LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – This time of year may be dreadful for some kids as school gets ready to start. For those at Salvation Army and WLFI’s Tools for School distribution on Saturday, this time of year means a burden is lifted.
“We think our students will be coming in a little more relaxed and a little more excited also because they have those necessary tools, and they are ready for the first day of school,” Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Les Huddle said.
“There is something about watching a student walk out of here with a backpack,” Salvation Army Major Jim Irvine said. “They walk out of here with a huge smile on their face knowing that I’ve got something, and I’m ready to go to school. It sets the tone for the entire year.”
It’s the program’s 19th year, and Irvine said the need keeps growing.
“Last year, we served over 1,100 students,” Irvine said. “This year, we think we are going to get at least to 1,200 students. That’s an awful lot.”
As school supplies lists continue to grow, Irvine said the organization did not have enough of each tool for every student, but he said for families who cannot afford all the supplies anything helps.
“By being able to supply what we are able to supply that lessens the burden on the parents to get students ready for school, and allows them to take those limited funds they have to either pick up the pieces we weren’t able to provide, or to use that money to buy clothing [or] to pay the utility bills,” Irvine said.
For every family, there was a volunteer to help them find what they need. Huddle said without the volunteers a successful education for some students would not be possible.
“I think it’s a huge statement that the individuals in our county here support all three of the public school systems,” Huddle said. “They don’t just talk the talk.”
Irvine said all left over supplies will be given to the school corporations. Even though the Tools for School campaign is over, Irvine said school supplies can continue to be dropped off at the Salvation Army at 1110 Union St. in Lafayette.