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24 July 2007
Donations of School Supplies Welcome in JCOC's "Back to School" Community Outreach Program
2007-2008 School Year

By Jennifer Bacchus
News Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

JCOC Expects Record Need for School Supplies

Mary Agnes Hester hands out bags of school supplies. Photo: Anita Kilgore

When people think about shopping for back-to-school items the image of Wal-Mart, OfficeMax or K-Mart comes to mind. Yet, for many children in Jacksonville, the image is of a small, white house.

At the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center, children receive brand new, top-quality items and the group prides themselves on giving the children they serve the exact items every other child will have.

Last summer, the JCOC gave school supplies to 256 children in Jacksonville. Those children also received $6,065 in vouchers for shoes, socks and underwear. In December, 195 were re-stocked with supplies for the second semester.

Because of high gas prices and a lack of work opportunities for many of the organization’s clients, Evans has already seen a high demand for many of the services they provide and is predicting a record demand for school supplies this year.

“Our food numbers are up and when that happens it follows through,” said Evans. “We’ve seen an increase in families that we haven’t assisted in several years and these are normally larger families. People are just having a really difficult time.”

The parents have to bring documentation – current proof of residence in Jacksonville and Social Security cards for each child. All the volunteers ask from the children is for them to do well in school and come back to show off their report cards.

This year, Evans and her group of volunteers will begin giving out supplies on Monday July 30 at 10 a.m. and are looking to the community for help to give the children of Jacksonville everything they need to start school right.

“I had someone ask me the other day if I had to identify the most important project that we have at the JCOC, what would I choose. I said, ‘That’s a no-brainer for me, it’s our back to school program and our prescription for our elderly,’” said Evans.

Donations can be dropped off at the JCOC, the little white house in the parking lot of the First Methodist Church, or, if you want the volunteers to do the shopping, make a check payable to JCOC for “school supplies.”

“When you’re doing 256 children, you think – that’s 256 Kleenex, paper towels, with crayons that can be 500 boxes of crayons because a lot of them will ask for two and that’s ok, we can do that,” said Evans.

If you have any questions about the assistance this organization provides families or if you want to volunteer your time, call 435-1891.

Needed items:
• Band-Aids®
• Baby wipes
• Colored pencils
• Composition books – ruled
• Construction paper
• Dictionary (paperback)
• Dividers with tabs
• Dividers with pockets
• File folders (multicolored)
• Folders with pockets
• Plastic folders with pockets
• Highlighters
• Hand sanitizer
• Index cards – 3x5 & 4x6
• Kleenex®
• Dry-erase markers – wide
• Crayola® washable markers
• Notebook paper – college ruled
• No. 2 pencils
• Pencil bags with zippers – no plastic, please
• Paper towels
• Post-it® notes
• Red and black ink pens
• Liquid soap – antibacterial
• Sleep mat – plastic
• Watercolors
• Ziploc bags – quart & gallon
• Volunteers with a caring heart

About Jennifer Bachus

Jennifer Bacchus is a staff writer at The Jacksonville News. She can be reached at 256-435-5021 or via e-mail at

See story at The Jacksonville News's website: .

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