Supply Collections Ramp Up as School Year Approaches

Posted at: 07/23/2013 5:47 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- You'll find them at churches, businesses and organizations all around the area -- bins for collecting donated school supplies for students who are getting ready to head back to the classroom.

If you've ever done back-to-school shopping, you know it can be expensive.

And for many students, and financially strapped families, the school bell is about to ring.

"To buy any kind of supplies are expensive," said Success Coach Enrique Camarena-Corzo at Austin’s Sumner elementary school.

When Sumner went to a year-round 45-15 schedule two years ago, students started the year with an unexpected shortage of school supplies. It seems that most of us don't think of contributing to school supply collections until later in the summer.

"People are not thinking about going back to school because they're on vacation," said Success Coach Enrique Camarena-Corzo.

“We forget there are students going back to school next week," added Ashley Corbett at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin.

And that means buying school supplies -- at a time when money is already tight for many families.

"hey don't have the budget even to buy a simple pencil, pen, notebook, those kinds of things," Enrique Camarena-Corzo told us.

"And when you need to pay for fancy calculators, certain kinds of markers, paper, it adds up," St. Olaf’s Ashley Corbett added.

"People need the appropriate tools to be successful," said Deneene McDonald with the United Way of Olmsted County.

On Tuesday, the United Way held its first “Running Start For Schools” distribution.

"We collect school supplies and then distribute them for low income families," Deneen McDonald explained.

And it started at Longfellow elementary school, where students return to the classroom this week.

"So they can be successful in school, they can be successful in the community and they can become productive adults," Deneen McDonald told us.

And that's the reason behind the collection bins in the fellowship hall at St. Olaf Lutheran church in Austin.

"This is an amazing way we can reach out and share our unconditional love with the community," said St. Olaf’s Ashley Corbett.