STERLING – Crayons continually break and students run out of glue and paper, Dillon Elementary School Principal Brody Rude said.
So he welcomes a supplemental source for children who are in need of free school supplies throughout the year.
The School Supply Closet will open Thursday in the parsonage of Trinity United Methodist Church. It will provide qualifying children with supplies for school.
“We feel if a student has the tools they need in the classroom, they will succeed,” said Bonnie Donnell, one of the organizers.
The closet was born of Monday-night gatherings of women in the church, Donnell said. They got involved in the Seeds to Succeed program, an initiative of the church’s conference. Other church members and other community members then got involved.
Book bags were given to schools at the beginning of the year, Donnell said, but it soon became apparent that needs arise midyear as well.
“We found that there’s a problem when kids run out of supplies,” she said. “Teachers were trying to furnish supplies themselves out of their own pockets.”
The organizers used supply lists from area schools and bought items that most often appeared on the lists. They are now stocked with pencils, pens, notebooks, paper, hand sanitizer, flash cards and many other items.
Fifty vouchers have been provided to each private and public school in Sterling and Rock Falls and to Sauk Valley Community College. The schools can give the vouchers to students who need them, or to teachers to use to pick up supplies for their students.
The supply closet will be open year round to accommodate summer school and Sauk students.
At Dillon, 75 percent of students are from families with incomes low enough to qualify them for free or reduced-price lunches, Rude said.
“I think it’s going to be a great supplemental source,” Rude said of the closet. “It’s nice to see organizations working with one another.”
The School Supply Closet at Trinity United Methodist Church parsonage, 910 Second Ave., Sterling, opens at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with an open house. There will be refreshments and door prizes.
Regular hours will be 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
Volunteers, money and supplies are needed. Call Bonnie Donnell, 815-441-1988, or Cheryle Colmark, 815-441-8652, to help or for more information.