Editorial: Donations will help students

For kids and parents, mid-July may seem a bit early to talk about back to school, but one Carroll organization is already looking for donations to help in their annual effort to make sure kids are ready and have the supplies they need when they head back to the classroom.

Every year the Shepherd's Staff collects school supplies for students from pre-K through high school whose parents can't afford them. Last year, the organization collected enough supplies to help 1,100 students.

Each student registered receives a backpack with supplies, as well as a gift card for the purchase of new shoes at Payless. They also have the opportunity to select some new or gently used clothing items from the organization's clothing shed.

Parents have to enroll their child in person at the Shepherd's Staff, 30 Carroll St., Westminster, in order to participate in the program. Registration is open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday from now until July 27.

Key to the success of the program is assistance from the community in providing the supplies. Binders, composition books, glue sticks and other supplies help to fill the backpacks. Monetary donations are also welcomed.

Donations can be dropped off at the Shepherd's Staff until Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesday and Fridays, and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. People interested in donating should contact the organization for a complete list of what is needed.

Efforts such as the back-to-school supplies drive would not be successful without the help of many businesses, groups, organizations and individuals that contribute to the effort.

As families everywhere continue to struggle in this sluggish economy, more and more are finding they need a little help to make ends meet. The Shepherd's Staff program has helped many area families in the past, and the organization expects that the needs will be even greater this year.

When shopping in the coming weeks, think about picking up an extra notebook or other school supply and contributing it to the program. Together, we can ensure that no student has to return to school without the basic supplies that they need to learn.