FORT MILL TOWNSHIP — School supply donations are being accepted at area schools to help students who might otherwise go without. Those supplies are “absolutely critical,” said Carol Higgins, director for the Fort Mill Care Center.
“So many of our clients want their kids to go to school with exactly what the other kids have. They don’t want their kids to stand out,” she said.
Fort Mill School District officials are working with The Herald and its community publications, the Fort Mill Times, Lake Wylie Pilot and Enquirer-Herald, to launch their annual school supply drive aimed at ensuring all students have the materials they need.
The Care Center is not collecting school supplies this year because of an impending move, but Higgins is directing clients to ask about supplies at their child’s school.
Donated supplies can be dropped off any Fort Mill school. In July, drop-off hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. In August, supplies can be dropped off 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. For school locations, go to www.fort-mill.k12.sc.us.
Sturdy backpacks are typically a big need, Higgins said. She recommends against donating small, inexpensive backpacks because they frequently break during the school year. Rolling backpacks should not be donated.
Highlighters, index cards, flash drives, markers and three-ring binders are also important items that aren’t often donated in large quantities, Higgins said.
It helps if folders and binders are plain or in simple colors, she said.
“If you donate cute ones or gender specific, they are hard to distribute. If you go with primary colors, they can work with any gender, any grade,” Higgins said. “Think about your kids, and what they actually use.”
School supplies can be very expensive, depending on how many children a family has and the age of the child, Higgins said. Based on prices taken from Staples.com and Walmart.com, the school supply list for a third-grader at Sugar Creek Elementary School is an estimated $39.05. That does not include requested supplies or a backpack, only the required supplies.
“If you’ve got three kids, you’re talking about a fair amount of money when you look at all of it put together with multiple children. They take rent money and utility money to buy school supplies if they aren’t readily available,” Higgins said. “You don’t want your kids to stand out.”
In lieu of supply donations, anyone who wants to donate money can send a check or money order made out to The Foundation for Fort Mill Schools to 2233 Deerfield Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29715.
Corporations interested in holding school supply drives can contact Kelly McKinney, the district’s media and communications officer, at 548-8228, for assistance and information.