St. Peter Lutheran Church of Portage recently provided 18 backpacks and 4 Care Kits for the students of Central Elementary School.
Project Chairperson Karen Fulkerson explained that the backpacks have been given to Central for the past several years because the school has the largest percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches in the township.
Over the years, tax caps have limited funds to education. Schools cannot afford to provide students with many necessities, as they did in the past. Many families cannot afford to fill the extensive supply lists needed to start the year, especially if they have multiple children.
Fulkerson purchased 18 backpacks, three for each grade level of kindergarten through fifth grade. She attached the supply list specific to the grade level to each. Members took a backpack or two, purchased the needed items and returned the backpacks to the church by August 14.
The next day, which was staff orientation day, the backpacks were delivered to the school. Home School Advisor Nicole Slack happily accepted the backpacks and said they would be given to students with the greatest need. She handles the donations so that none of the other students know about their classmates’ needs.
The Care Kits contain a blanket, a small stuffed dog and hygiene materials for children who can not return to their homes unexpectedly because of domestic problems or other issues.
Comfort Dog Barnabas was on hand to provide a helping paw. Handler Nancy Carroll took him through the hallways to provide comfort for the staff members who were there preparing their classrooms for a successful year.