STERLING — Children who are in need of free school supplies now have places to go in the area.
Beginning next week, Trinity United Methodist Church’s School Supply Closet, 910 Second Ave., will have free school supplies for students ranging from preschool to college.
“We realized there is a need for school supplies in the area,” said Cheryle Colmark, one of the organizers and a retired teacher.
Colmark said the church helped 800 students get school supplies last year. An additional 100 students were able to receive suppies during the school year.
Colmark also said the church will not question a student’s eligibility.
“We will provide everything they need,” she said. “We will have backpacks, earbuds, paper, pencils, calculators, glue, and everything that a student needs to start school.”
The church will begin giving away supplies at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
School supplies will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays in August while supplies last.
During the school year, the church also will give away supplies from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
Volunteers, money and supplies are needed. Call Bonnie Donnell, 815-441-1988, or Cheryle Colmark, 815-441-8652, to help or for more information.
Supplying the supplies
Other places in the Sauk Valley where students can get free school supplies include:
• The United Way of Whiteside County, along with the local Optimist clubs, will be handing out back-to-school supplies to children in Sterling Public Schools, Rock Falls District 13 and middle school, Tampico and Prophetstown schools, Montmorency and East Coloma-Nelson.
Donations can be sent to: Back To School Drive, PO Box 806, Sterling.
For more information about the program, call the United Way at 815-625-7973.
• The Cellular Connection, the largest Verizon Premium Wireless retailer, will be giving away backpacks with school supplies from noon to 2 p.m.Aug. 2.
The Verizon store in Sterling, 4204 E. Lincolnway, and Rock Falls, 107 First Ave., each will have 200 backpacks to give away while suplies last. There are no eligibility requirements, and students must be present to receive backpacks.
Any leftover backpacks will be donated to local schools.
• Requests can be made until Aug. 1 for Crossroads Community Church’s Missionz for Kidz's fifth annual Backpack Mission in Morrison.
The program provides free backpacks full of school supplies to Whiteside County students, from preschool through high school. They will be distributed from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 9 at the Crave Building, 201 W. Market St.
Call 815-956-0090 to sign up.
• The Tools for School program in Dixon plans to provide every student from kindergarden through high school who qualifies for the free or reduced lunch program with a backpack and school supplies for the upcoming school year.
Tools for Schools is a program in partnership with Juvenile Justice Council, Dixon School District and Walmart.
Last year, the program provided backpacks and school supplies for more than 655 students. This year, an additional 200 students have qualified. The $18,000 to fund the program comes from local donations.
Monetary donations can be made payable to "Tools for School" and mailed or dropped off at the Dixon Public School Office, 1335 Franklin Grove Road, Dixon, or Sauk Valley Bank, Attn: TFS, 300 Walton Drive, Dixon.
For more information, call Roxie Mahan at the Dixon School District Office at 815-284-7722 or Pam Short Tourtillott at 815-440-6921.