The LaGrange Community Youth Center’s school supply giveaway appeared to be on track to shrink substantially this year, but an update from the center’s director, Betty Bronestine, indicates that things turned out just fine.
The youth center held its annual giveaway Friday afternoon and handed out 500 bags of school supplies, covering about a third of the students in Lewis County, who mostly attend Canton and Lewis County C-1 (Highland) schools. It handed out more bags at a second giveaway Tuesday afternoon and will deliver others via the School Reach program in both school districts.
Each child receives the basic school supplies — crayons, pencils, pens, markers, colored pencils, paper and so forth — based on the school supply lists for each classroom at each school. In addition, each family receives one larger item. Depending on the child’s age level and coursework this year, those items vary, but this year they included a calculator, flash drives, nap mats for kindergartners, backpacks and gift cards.
“We can’t give out everything that is on the (school supply) list, but we try and give the basics,” Bronestine wrote.
The giveaway is somewhat smaller this year than it was last year, when the youth center first took it over from a coalition of local churches. It originally looked to be substantially smaller; last month, Bronestine said the center had raised less than $1,000 of the $8,000 it needed in order to fund the giveaway. Donations picked up after that, with a LaGrange restaurant holding a $1,000 fundraiser for the center.
The center still fell a couple thousand dollars short, Bronestine said, but a stockpile of leftover supplies from last year got them through.
“The need is greater this year,” she said. “We had families that had never used the giveaway.”