South Charlotte

Groups' goal: No child's school supplies left behind

With students getting ready to head back to school, several community organizations want to make sure each child has the needed supplies.

The Tega Cay Lions Club is partnering with The Fort Mill Care Center to collect school supplies for the center's clients. The Lions will be collecting supplies during its breakfast meetings at the Tega Cay Golf Course Clubhouse on the second and fourth Saturdays through the first week of September, according to member Sue Gulasky.

“We did a (school supply) drive last year, but we were a little late in getting it done,” Gulasky said. “So this year, we got in touch with (the Care Center) earlier.”

School supplies can also be dropped off any time during normal business hours at the Tega Cay Administration Building at 120 Shoreline Parkway, where a drop box has been set up, she said.

The Lions will likely continue to collect school supplies after the back-to-school drive because many times the Care Center's clients need additional school supplies throughout the school year. For more information on the collection, call Gulasky at 548-3539.

Care Center clients can sign up to receive school supplies through Friday , according to Care Center President Joy Rives. As of last week, 88 families had signed up.

Other community and church groups and individuals are chipping in with supplies each year. The center plans to give a backpack stuffed with paper, folders, binders, pencils, crayons and more to each student who is signed up to receive supplies. Son Rise Ministries supplies the Care Center with 100 to 125 backpacks each year, and other backpacks are sometimes donated as well.

Last year, the Care Center served 3,769 clients (each family is considered a single client). During the first six months of 2008 it helped 1,896 clients. Of those, 151 were new to the center, Rives said. The center, at 513 Banks St., is open 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday. School supplies and food can be dropped off during those times. For more information about the Care Center, call 803-547-7620.

LakeShore Christian Fellowship Church is also collecting school supplies in conjunction with Operation Hand Up for a program called Stuff This Bus (www.stuffthisbus.com). The Fort Mill School District agreed to supply the church with a bus, which will be stationed in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Stonecrest on S.C. 160 West, from Friday through Sunday, according to Robert Caudle of LakeShore Church.

“Kids that start the school year without all the stuff they need are so much more likely to do poorly, drop out or get in trouble,” Caudle said.

Last year, LakeShore collected enough supplies to fill boxes on every seat in the bus. This year, Caudle said the church hopes to fill the center aisle as well.

Wal-Mart will also be selling prepackaged bags of requested school supplies to make it easier for customers.

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