I’m about to make anyone reading this who is dreading the first day of school cringe. I’m sorry, but it’s getting to be time to start thinking about supplies for the new year, the new grade and, for some, the new school.

We’ve all experienced what it’s like to be nervous, anxious about leaving behind your comfortable, relaxed summer routine for the structure of school. For this reason, I think moms and dads everywhere are usually super vigilant about stocking up on what’s needed for that big first day about a month in advance. And we’ve seen the big box store ads already advertising specials on everything from school clothes and gym shoes to pencils, folders, crayons, and glue.

While this supply shopping tradition may be just another thing to check off the list for many, for others it can cause even more anxiety than the first day of school itself. Supplies are getting very costly, and students are needing much more than a box of chalk these days. Sometimes, it can cost up to $100 for school supplies for just one child. For families in our community who are struggling at this time, finding extra money for school supplies can be difficult. It can mean a decision between putting dinner on the table and purchasing what’s needed for school.

This is when the Salvation Army has stepped in. The agency’s Back-to-School Assistance program provides school supplies to hundreds of children throughout the Itasca County area. Supplies are donated by concerned residents, friends and neighbors who care about the community’s school children.

Studies have shown that the more prepared a child is for school, the more likely he or she will succeed in class.

With a community that shows it cares for the success of all children, families can prosper and grow stronger, healthier, happier.

The Salvation Army has set up school supply trees in churches throughout the area. Each tree has paper pencils hanging from its branches with the name of a child who is need of school supplies along with a list of the supplies needed. Anyone can “adopt” the child and buy all of the supplies on the list or just as much as they can afford, any donation is accepted and appreciated. Donations of any kinds of school supplies can also be brought to the Salvation Army in Grand Rapids.

For more information about the Salvation Army’s Back-to-School Assistance program, visit the Grand Rapids Salvation Army on South Highway 169 in Grand Rapids or call 218-326-4847.

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