More than 1,500 notebooks, 2,000 folders, 1,000 glue sticks and 5,000-plus pencils, as well as backpacks, scissors, gym shoes and other items needed by students as they enter school this fall will be distributed to needy families next week.
The donated supplies will be handed out from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Saukville.
“This is going to be our best year yet,” organizer Bethel Metz said.
The school supply drive was bolstered this year by sizeable donations from Port Washington State Bank and Schmit Bros., she said.
“Last year, we weren’t able to afford gym shoes for the students. This year James Schowalter (of Port State Bank) made it his mission to make sure we would be able to offer them,” Metz said.
Volunteers, supply list in hand, accompany each child as they select the things they need for the school year, Metz said.
“The children get so excited,” she said. “These are things each child needs.
“This is a real loaves and fishes story. We encourage people to take what they need, but to leave what they don’t.”
That’s why last year some of the more than 200 backpacks on hand during the distribution were still there at the end of the day, she said.
Last year, 700 children whose families are experiencing financial difficulties received school supplies through the drive, which this year is being run under the direction of the Saukville Community Food Pantry, Metz said.
“Supplies are expensive,” she said. “If you’re already struggling to put food on the table and make the rent, where do you cut to buy school supplies?
“We’re trying to make sure every child has what they need to go to school.”
Every family attending the distribution Tuesday is invited to enjoy a hamburger and hot dog dinner.
Donations continue to come in, even on the day supplies are distributed, Metz said.
“We will be handing things out and people will walk in the other door of the church with donations,” she said.
People told the volunteers at the distribution that they drove by, saw the line of families and headed to the store or their home, where they collected supplies to drop off, Metz said.
Last year, the line of people stretched from the front door of the church at Highway 33 to Highway O, she said.
Metz, who has organized the drive since it began five years ago, said this is the last time she will be at the helm. Next year, Saukville Food Pantry volunteers will take over the job.
“After five years, it’s time for a fresh look at things and fresh blood,” she said. “Our goal was to turn over the drive to the food pantry, and that’s what we’re able to do.