Area businesses will host a Stock Their Lockers fundraiser July 8 and 29 at Walmart on Little Debbie Parkway to help parents offset the expense and stress of getting students ready for school.
Samaritan Center Social Services Director Sharon Smith-Hensley said during a tough economy and with families still recovering from the storms in April, she believes there will be more families in need than ever.
"We generally help 175 to 200 kids," she said.
Dr. Tom Donnelly, director of LifeStyle Chiropractic, has been recruiting interested vendors for the fundraiser. He said all shoppers who make a donation July 8 and 29 will receive a package with coupons from local businesses such as Snap Fitness and GollyWhoppers, which are supporting the event.
"Cash gives us the flexibility to get what we don't already have," said Cheryl Torres, marketing director for the Samaritan Center which sponsors the school aid program.
Volunteers will stand at the Walmart's entrances from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and accept monetary donations or provide shoppers with a list of common items on school lists that shoppers can donate on the way out of the store.
"We just opened up our new office and to get involved in the community we were going to host a food drive, but Cheryl Torres at the Samaritan Center suggested we do a school drive instead," said Donnelly.
Smith-Hensley said the school supply list varies from school to school and with each grade level, but can include everything from paper towels and flash drives to copier paper and T3 graphing calculators.
To be eligible for the Stock Their Lockers program, parents must contact the Samaritan Center to set up a consultation.
If the family meets all the criteria, the center will schedule a time for the student to visit the Stock Their Lockers store.
Each participating student receives a new backpack as part of the program. Parents will also receive a clothes voucher to offset the cost of the students' clothes.