Worcester Youth and Family Services (WYFCS) has begun its yearly “Back to School” drive to benefit schoolchildren in Worcester County unable to acquire necessary materials for the upcoming term. Over 200 backpacks filled with school supplies were donated to students at local schools in 2018.
WYFCS Executive Director Steve Taylor stressed the importance of the drive to the community.
“The School Supplies program is extremely important to the children and families in Worcester County. A significant number of families in the county live at or below the federal poverty level. Pocomoke schools report roughly 70% of the children fall into this category, about half of the families in Snow Hill and roughly 30% of the families in the Berlin area struggle financially,” he said, “In addition to those living at the poverty level, many more families are living paycheck to paycheck.”
He also emphasized the difficulty of living in monetary uncertainty.
“Any major expense such as a car repair or refrigerator failure will place families at risk of paying their bills,” he said, “Providing school supplies can be a tremendous help to these families. School supply requests are also intended to help teachers who sometimes use their own money to help the children.”
Deborah Smullen, billing and insurance specialist for WYFCS, said that all participants in the organization’s youth programs would receive backpacks.
“Bags are provided to our Berlin Youth Club, SAGES and SABERS members and their siblings, as well as our Family Connections families,” she said, “We also donate boxes of miscellaneous school supplies to area schools directly to lift the burden from teachers and administrators. Members of the public are invited to fill out a bag request form for their child at any time.”
Smullen requested that donations be made by Friday, August 9. Drop off locations for items include 124 North Main Street, Suite C in Berlin, at the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce at 12320 Ocean Gateway in Ocean City and at Ayers Creek Adventures at 8628 Grey Fox Lane in Berlin. There will also be a “Stuff the Van” event at Walmart, at 11416 Ocean Gateway in Berlin on Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to purchase school supplies to be loaded in the WYFCS vans.
School supplies being requested are:
• One, three and five subject notebooks
• Post It notes
• Bottles of glue
• Pencil pouches/cases
• Colored pencils
• Composition books
• Crayola crayons
• Zip lock bags (all sizes)
• Hand sanitizer
• Notebook paper
• Masking tape
• Scissors (blunt end)
• Pencils, #2
• White paper plates
• Pencil sharpeners
• Wipes (Clorox or Lysol)
• Plastic two pocket folders
• Regular two pocket folders
• Ear buds
• Glue sticks
• Large pink erasers
• Paper towels
• Dry erase markers
Bags will be distributed Friday, August 29 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Dr. William Henry Park in Berlin during a community event with lunch provided by Homes of Berlin. A parent or guardian must be present at the event to pick up the backpacks or may pick them up at the WYFCS offices.
Additionally, monetary contributions can be made to Worcester Youth and earmarked for the back to school drive. For more information, visit gowoyo.org, call 410-641-4598, or contact Debbie Smullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.