Sending children to school, be it a private institution or a public one, has an out-of-pocket cost one often doesn’t give much thought to – school supplies.
Little things such as paper, pens and folders can really add up, especially in families with multiple children.
But in a community such as Yuma, with the highest unemployment rate in the nation and the largest number of food-insecure residents in the state, purchasing simple items such as backpacks and pencils can be next to impossible. At the same time though, those items are vital to a student’s education. After all, how does one learn without the proper tools?
That’s where Yuma Regional Medical Center’s Drive for School Supplies steps in.
The effort raises money to purchase supplies for students in need. Since its inception in 2000, the drive has raised over $216,000 and filled 25,788 backpacks. Last year alone, officials said they filled an all-time high of 4,043 backpacks with supplies for Yuma County students.
And this year once again, that need is tremendous.
Officials estimate they will need 4,500 backpacks – a massive effort, at a cost of about $13 per backpack.
Organizers hope to raise $60,000 to meet their goal. They are also looking for supplies, such as backpacks, crayons, markers, rulers, paper, erasers, glue sticks, binders and dictionaries.
Fortunately, Yuma is a very generous community. NexGen, a young professionals’ group in Yuma, has already held two takeovers at Lutes Casino this month, raising funds with a 50-50 raffle. Lutes also generously donates a portion of the evening’s receipts to the cause.
In fact, the support of businesses is critical to the Drive for School Supplies, coming in a variety of forms, from Hoppstetters and Walgreens to Del Outdoor/SignPro and Yuma Palms Regional Center. Businesses can donate time, money or supplies – all are welcome and needed.
Poverty can leave an indelible mark on children. It’s hard to break the cycle and escape that situation when there are no resources available. Every child deserves the opportunity to learn, with the same resources as the child in the next desk over. We’re fortunate to have a strong commitment from Yuma Regional Medical Center and the Drive for School Supplies to help children have equal footing to succeed.
All donations are tax-deductible. To learn more about donating or volunteering with the program, contact Serena Holthaus at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 336-2445.