Making sure that every child gets a good start at school

- Posted on Aug 07, 2019 - 02:23 PM

Photo: The Salvation Army in partnership with Gloucester County Public Schools Transportation Department, Back To School Gloucester and Connected Communities held a back-to-school Stuff the Bus event at Walmart on Saturday. Stopping by to drop off a sizeable donation was the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office Alpha patrol shift that included, above from left, Deputies Tristan Shiflett and Matt Reichert, Sgt. Jake Forehand and Deputies Patric Graham and Chris Sigley. “It was a pretty exciting event,” said GCPS Transportation Director Tanya Deckard, “We filled the bus front to back with bags of school supplies.” The supplies will be distributed to local students at the Gloucester Moose Lodge on Aug. 24.

The Salvation Army in partnership with Gloucester County Public Schools Transportation Department, Back To School Gloucester and Connected Communities held a back-to-school Stuff the Bus event at Walmart on Saturday. Stopping by to drop off a sizeable donation was the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office Alpha patrol shift that included, above from left, Deputies Tristan Shiflett and Matt Reichert, Sgt. Jake Forehand and Deputies Patric Graham and Chris Sigley. “It was a pretty exciting event,” said GCPS Transportation Director Tanya Deckard, “We filled the bus front to back with bags of school supplies.” The supplies will be distributed to local students at the Gloucester Moose Lodge on Aug. 24.

Photo: A number of businesses, organizations and churches are undertaking efforts this month to ensure that local students return to school in September with the supplies they need to have a successful start. Here, organizers for Clothes 4 Kids, Tracey Swain, Crystal Copenhaver and Jason Foster, from left, hold up a small sample of some of the items they have collected so far. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

A number of businesses, organizations and churches are undertaking efforts this month to ensure that local students return to school in September with the supplies they need to have a successful start. Here, organizers for Clothes 4 Kids, Tracey Swain, Crystal Copenhaver and Jason Foster, from left, hold up a small sample of some of the items they have collected so far. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Many businesses, organizations and churches are working this month to ensure that every child in Gloucester and Mathews returns to school in September with what’s needed for a good start.

Listed here are a number of those efforts which residents can support. Others conducting drives like these may call 804-693-3101 to be included.

Apple Tree

Bill Hudgins GMC in Gloucester is collecting monetary contributions by check, payable to the Gloucester County Department of Social Services, in order to purchase needed items for local foster children. Also, individuals, businesses and organizations can pick up a paper apple at the dealership pledging to purchase a specific item listed, or to donate a gift card.

Sunny Catalano at Gloucester Social Services said this is the main focus of that agency’s back to school efforts. Items collected through Apple Tree are given to foster children in Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, King and Queen and King William counties, she said. Undistributed items are provided to other families and to schools.

Some of the apples for this program can be picked up in Mathews at the dentistry office of Dr. C. Ben Lennon.

Chesapeake Bank

All offices of Chesapeake Bank have boxes for school supplies and donation jars for cash contributions, to be used to help children get equipped for the new year. Chesapeake has local offices at Gloucester, Hayes and Mathews.

Clothes 4 Kids

New and gently used clothing that children can wear back to school is being collected through Aug. 20 at Brent and Becky’s, Teagle Insurance Agency, Short Lane Ice Cream, Gloucester Pawn, Commonwealth Insurance Center, Sonabank/Hayes, and The Wright Barber Shop & Salon. 

The items collected will be distributed Aug. 25 at the Gloucester Moose Lodge beginning at noon. It will be first-come, first-served and those in need of items must show a proof of residency, as the distribution is for Gloucester residents only.

For more information, call 757-291-5469 or 804-699-1287.

Fresh Start

Hands Across Mathews and the Mathews Family YMCA each year collect donations and then take 25 young schoolchildren shopping for back-to-school clothing for a Fresh Start to the new year. Stephanie Decker at the Y said employees of Chesapeake Bank donate their time and volunteer to go along as adult shoppers, and the Mathews Rotary Club makes a day of it by serving a picnic.

Mathews Social Services

Donations are coming in from churches and residents to help Mathews youth prepare for going back to school, said Lauren Oden at Mathews Social Services. Distribution is open to any young person living in the county, not just those receiving benefits. The program has been underway for more than 20 years. Make checks payable to Mathews Social Services and mail to P.O. Box 925, Mathews, Va. 23109.

No Walls Community Day

Donations to stuff new backpacks with school supplies are being taken for No Walls Community Day, to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 at Port Fun in Mathews. The Rev. Patrick Billups of Relevant Church, one of the organizers, said the group hopes to distribute 300 backpacks. Backpacks and school supplies may be donated at churches, The Daily Grind, All Around Auto and Riverside Convalescent Center, Mathews. Free food, music, games, and much more are planned for No Walls day. For information on donating, visit www.mathewscommunityday.us.

Pack the Bus by Sonabank

Offices of Sonabank are collecting all types of school supplies, from binders to pencils and hand sanitizers, in that company’s Pack the Bus effort. Sonabank has offices in Gloucester and Gloucester Point.

School Supply Drive and Giveway

Elite Plumbing Contractors LLC will give out donated school supplies from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday at Southern Plumbing and Heating Supply, 4214 George Washington Memorial Highway, Hayes, across from LightHouse Church. Teachers and students are all invited, said Mike Harris, owner of Elite. Joining Elite and Southern (where supplies may be dropped off) in supporting the drive are Walmart, Serta Mattress and Harris Garage.

Stuff the Bus

The tax-free weekend in Virginia just observed saw the Salvation Army with cooperation from ther groups set up a school bus over the weekend at Walmart in Gloucester for the annual Stuff the Bus with school supplies campaign.

 YMCA

The Gloucester Family YMCA and the Mathews Family YMCA are on board with the “Bright Beginnings” program. Each facility has a yellow wooden box in the shape of a bus, and asks patrons to “Stuff the Bus.” Monetary donations are also taken at each Y. The Mathews Y uses this collection to sponsor five children in Fresh Start, mentioned above. For more information, call the Gloucester Y at 804-993-4922, or the Mathews Y at 804-725-1488.