07 Aug School Supply Train helps families in need
By by ellen goodacre
Aug. 7, 2015 at 11:26 p.m.
Volunteers from four area organizations gave out more than 3,000 pairs of shoes, uniforms and backpacks filled with school supplies to families in need Friday at the annual School Supply Train at First Baptist Church in Longview.
“It’s a pretty good opportunity for families like us, with low incomes,” said Linda Longoria, 30, of Longview. “My sister told me about it. She preregistered, but I didn’t. I only have one (child) who goes to school, but my sister, she has four of them. So that’s a lot of money when it comes to shoes and uniforms and stuff.”
The Junior League of Longview, First Baptist Church of Longview, Buckner Family Services and KVNE Radio joined to sponsor the event, and 1,000 families preregistered. The event began at 8 a.m. and continued until supplies ran out.
“I was here at 7:30 a.m., and the line was way over there,” said Lucero Toribio, 26, of Longview. “I left because I had an appointment at 8:30 a.m., but I came back because now (the line is) not as long.”
Toribio came to get supplies for her two daughters.
The event was open to pre-K through 12th grade students who qualify for free or reduced lunches.
“There is a lot of need, and this provides it for lots of families. It’s a boost for them to be able to start school just like everyone else would want their family to start school, with new shoes and a new backpack,” said JaneAnn Crowson, director of the Family Hope Center for Buckner Family Services in Longview.
Buckner provides staff who preregister families and provides the shoes. KVNE promotes the shoe drive; the Junior League provides the school supplies and uniform shirt; and First Baptist provides the backpacks, Crowson said.
“We’ve had a shoe drive going on for three weeks where people all over East Texas will donate shoes,” said Jill Smith, director of community connections with KVNE.
This is the third year KVNE and KGLY radio have partnered with Buckner to promote the shoe drive, Smith said.
“Every child wants to feel like everybody else. They don’t want to stand out. They don’t want to be different, and a new pair of shoes makes that child feel special,” she said. “It’s only shoes to me and it’s only shoes to other people, but not to that child.”
The Junior League provides $60,000 worth of supplies and uniforms for the event, said Summer Sinclair, Junior League event chairwoman for School Supply Train.
The league stuffed 32,000 backpacks — 500 for pre-K students; 600 for first through second grade; 1,000 for third through fifth grade; and 1,100 for sixth through 12th-grade students.
“Junior League’s main focus is children and women. It helps them get a good start on school that they wouldn’t get otherwise,” Sinclair said. “It helps them get prepared and helps take that stress off the parents.”