09/28/09 — Communities in Schools Program's drive for supplies hit record

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Communities in Schools Program's drive for supplies hit record

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 28, 2009 1:46 PM

Communities in Schools is celebrating its most successful school supplies drive ever, with more than $14,000 worth of donations collected.

But it's far from over, says Sudie Davis, executive director of CIS in Wayne County.

"We will always accept school supplies because there are always kids who need it," she said. "We could outfit each student this time of year but by midway through the school year, they're going to need to replenish their supplies.

"What we would like to do because the community has come forth with such an outpouring this year, we hope that we will be able to set up a school supply closet."

School officials are already working to secure a location, she added.

"That way, school social workers as they identify needs, will be able to tap into that resource for students who have a need," she said.

The recent drive, launched with the United Way "Days of Caring" event on Aug. 12, brought in an estimated $4,800 worth of supplies. It was held in conjunction with Goldsboro Rotary Club.

"Rotary set up boxes at 10 sites," Mrs. Davis explained. "Members also volunteered to sort, count and box up school supplies and deliver them for us. I figure with that effort it probably saved our agency about $160 in man-hours and mileage."

Another project came at the suggestion of a woman transferred here with the military.

"Capt. Julie Harrison moved to Goldsboro last year and said, 'The town that we moved from did an 'Operation Backpack,'" Mrs. Davis said. "I never turn down a free resource, so I said, 'Sure.' She got started and 'Operation Backpack' was mostly school supplies but some cash was also collected. The total from what they have brought in was $6,610."

Then there was "Stuff the Bus," gathering supplies on a school bus parked at Wal-Mart on Spence Avenue. Eight volunteers from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base helped with the collection of $1,156 worth of supplies.

"It was a very varied effort," she said of the effort to bring awareness -- and needed items -- to the community.

No donations were too small, no effort unnoticed, she said.

"A group of children from First Baptist Church collected school supplies, Goldsboro Worship Center brought in supplies," she said.

And then there was one gift that particularly stood out.

"When we did that 'Stuff the Bus,' it was really touching because we had one little girl, I have to assume the family didn't have a lot. After she saw the bus outside Wal-Mart, her family went into the store. She came out in a little while with a little packet of pencils, but she was so proud to put that in the bus," Mrs. Davis said. "You could just see her face come alive and grin from ear to ear.

"It's also a wonderful way to teach children to give back."

The rewards from such efforts goes beyond making sure school children have enough pencils and paper, though, she said.

Communities in Schools has also been able to work closely with social workers in the district to provide items for homeless children, as well as outfitting five children whose families were victims of house fires.

And all because she lives in an area where collaboration works, even in strained economic times.

Mrs. Davis said the latest supply drive is just another example of how Wayne County responds when a need is presented.

"It's amazing, it's an enormous contribution from a caring community," she said.