The need is great, says CIS

School supply drive under way
Aug. 15, 2013 @ 07:23 PM

As Chair City students get ready for a new and quickly approaching school year, a local nonprofit is desperately trying to make sure they have everything they need to be successful.

Communities In Schools of Thomasville is collecting school supplies for hundreds of Chair City children who may be kicking off the new year already behind and without help. 

"We want our children to have the tools they need to do their job, just like adults," said CIS Executive Director Judy Younts. "We want them to start off the school year right and ready to go, not concerned about having a pencil, paper or a notebook."

With close to 90 percent of its students receiving free or reduced lunch, Thomasville City Schools continues to struggle with unemployed parents who may be choosing between buying supplies or paying the rent.  According to N.C. Division of Employment Security statistics, Thomasville's unemployment rate currently is 9.8 percent, which is above the state rate of 8.8 percent.  

"The need level is high," Younts said. "Economically, our town has not improved that much yet. We still have people without jobs and still have people living below the poverty level. Sometimes extra money to buy school supplies is hard to come by." 

Students need virtually every supply associated with school: pencils, notebooks, pens, crayons, markers. Younts said teachers have requested ziplock bags, hand sanitizer, facial tissues and anti-bacterial wipes. One of the biggest needs is backpacks. Younts said too many students show up for school carrying their supplies around in grocery bags. 

"We want our children to have a successful, educational year," said Younts. "Them having what need to get off on the right foot might make a big difference."

Collection bins are set up at WalMart and CIS headquarters in the TCS main office, 400 Turner St.  Food donations also are being accepted to support the CIS weekend feeding program at Liberty Drive Elementary School.

WFMY's Tools for School campaign also supports CIS of Thomasville.

Parents or children who need supplies can go to the CIS site coordinator at their school for assistance.

For more information, call Younts at 474-4233.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.