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Community places to give school supplies

Posted by Texas Education on August 2, 2008

This should be filed under FYI. Please give to these worthwhile causes. Even if you are struggling, think of those less fortunate than you. Please do contribute.

Homewood Suites invites community to ‘Fill the Bus’

Homewood Suites Hilton – Kingwood Parc will kick off their fourth annual drive for school supplies Aug. 8. The hotel’s “Fill the Bus”campaign benefits Humble Area Assistance Ministries, which in turn distributes much needed school supplies to children from low-income families in the Humble and New Caney school districts. The hotel’s supply drive is the largest source of school supplies for HAAM’s “Back to School 2008” campaign. Owner Philippe Cras invites area businesses and individuals to participate in the annual drive by filling backpacks with supplies and bringing them to the hotel, located at 23320 Highway 59. An Humble ISD bus will be parked at Homewood Suites from Aug. 8 – 10. Cras will start the ball rolling with a donation of 25 backpacks.

Homewood Suites Hilton – Kingwood Parc is located just north of Kingwood Drive between Highway 59 and Loop 494. For more information, contact Ted Mandel at 713-515-6712.

To encourage donations, Cras is offering two certificates, each good for a complimentary breakfast or dinner at the hotel for donating one filled backpack. For every five backpacks donated, a certificate good for one free night at Homewood Suites will be awarded. After placing backpacks on the bus, rewards can be claimed at the hotel’s front desk. Donations will also be accepted prior to Aug. 9.

Cras challenges other local businesses to match his donation, noting that certificates can be passed on to employees or customers.

“I ask my fellow business owners to match my personal contribution of 25 backpacks full of school supplies,” said Cras.

Cras, recognizing the budget constraints of Humble ISD, will also pay for the cost of the gas to transport the bus to the hotel. Basic supplies needed are pens, pencils, erasers, markers, highlighters, map pencils, bottled glue, glue sticks, pocket folders, wide-ruled filler paper, spiral notebooks, dividers and binders. Wish list items include Kleenex, construction paper, manila paper and pencil boxes.


Operation ‘Back Pack’ is under way

Although many families are still in ‘summer mode,’ it is not too soon to start thinking about helping students get the back to school supplies they need. For the past four years, May Community Center has been providing school supplies to assure that every student shows up on the first day with the supplies they need.

“Initially, we provided school supplies for the younger students only,” said Debbie Pierce, director of the Harris County Precinct 4’s May Community Center. “Last year, a large donation from Kids R Kids allowed us to also provide school supplies at the junior high and high school.

Pierce said the May Center Volunteer Advisory Committee decided it was a great idea and future drives will benefit all the students in the district.

The school supply drive began July 11 and continues through Aug. 20. Recommended supplies include: backpacks, writing tablets, black and white marbled composition books, map pencils, No. 2 pencils, scissors, pencil bags, 2- and 3-inch binders and pocket folders in red, yellow, green or blue.

A complete list of supplies is available at the Center, which also serves as a drop-off spot.

“Volunteers at the Center collect the supplies and create an even distribution among the schools. When the final sort is done, if we receive an overabundance of pencils, but are short on scissors, for example, the Advisory Committee uses cash donations to make up the difference,” said Pierce.

She said the funds are raised by the Advisory Committee each year at the Center’s ‘Pumpkin Patch’ event held in October.

“Commissioner Jerry Eversole wants to make sure citizens see the Center is a place for everyone,” Pierce said. “The fundraisers benefit our veteran programs, our senior programs and our children’s programs.”

She said some of the supplies for ‘Operation Back Pack’ are provided by children enrolled in the May Center Summer Kids’ Program. Each year, those children are asked to bring school supplies to help their fellow students.

“The last day of the Summer Program is our splash day,” said Pierce. “It’s a really fun day with shaving cream art, splash pools for the little ones, and this year, we will have two large water slides for the older ones.”

She said although it is a fun day for the kids, it was also a way nice for them to remember that other children are not having as much fun and even worry whether they will show up for school without the items they need for class.

Often, she said, families come to the Center to get supplies, but she wanted to remind parents that although the Center collects the supplies, they do not distribute them. Supplies and cash donations are delivered to the schools, where principals or counselors make the decisions regarding distribution.

For information, call 281-324-3373.


HAAM begins school supply drive

Schoolhouse doors will not be swinging open for the new school year until August, but now is the time for the community to join “Back to School 2008.” It is an exemplary, annual program of Humble Area Assistance Ministries, to provide basic supplies for children in schools in which more than 50 percent are from low-income families needing assistance.

“Parents are coming in to enroll their children and may continue throughout the summer.

They need proof of residency that the child lives in Humble ISD or New Caney ISD and a birth certificate,” explained Diana Garbis, executive director. “Last year we served over l,800 children from 737 families that couldn’t afford to give their children what they need to succeed in school.”

With helping hands and ongoing support, many churches, schools, clubs, businesses, civic organizations and individuals have begun to plan their contributions of supplies and monetary donations so the children will have what they need to start school on the right foot.

To make sure volunteers are able to collate and distribute packages in a timely fashion, Garbis said basic supplies should be dropped off at HAAM, 1302 East First Street, Humble, up to and including Aug. l:

• Pencils, pens, erasers

• Markers, map pencils, highlighters

• Rulers

• Bottled glue, glue sticks

• Wide-ruled filler paper

• Pocket folders, spiral notebooks

• Dividers

• Binders

On the wish list are construction paper, manila paper, pencil boxes and Kleenex.

Even though HAAM supports this program financially, their support alone is not enough to thrust this worthwhile service forward. Monetary donations can purchase one school supply package for one child as follows: elementary – $35, middle school – $45 and high school – $45.

Joining in the spirit, with community support, the staff at Homewood Suites will sponsor its fourth annual “Fill the Bus” drive, and will announce plans to deliver a school bus full of backpacks and supplies in plenty of time for the first day of school.

To learn more, call Millie Garrison, HAAM coordinator, at 281-446-3663 ext. 121.

Photo: Millie Garrison, left, and Diana Garbis will coordinate community participation in Back to School 2008.


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