School will be starting up again before you know it, and STCU is helping local students prepare by hosting a school supply drive through Aug. 10.
The supplies donated will be given to Unity in the Community for free distribution to children in kindergarten through eighth grade during the 24th annual event Aug. 18 at Riverfront Park. Donations can be dropped off at any STCU location in Washington except the branch in Newport.
The goal of Unity in the Community is to promote unity by showcasing diversity. It includes a youth fair, career and education fair, health fair, early learning fair and vendors. The event kicks off with a parade through downtown Spokane at 9 a.m.
While STCU has been a Unity in the Community sponsor for seven years this will only be the second year they have collected school supplies, said Community Relations Officer Kristen Piscopo.
“We just try to help with the bigger event and do our part,” she said. “It’s a great event for all ages and family friendly. They have a great turnout every year.”
Children are given a passport that has to be stamped at every booth in the Cultural Village. Each booth provides information about a different country. Children have to fill their passport with stamps before receiving a free bag of school supplies that are handed out while supplies last.
“There’s a really rich educational tie in there that we think is really important,” Piscopo said.
The school supplies are placed in drawstring bags labeled with the STCU logo. Last year about 1,400 bags were given away and remarkably, volunteers did not run out.
“We were literally handing out the last bag as the event was ending at 4,” she said.
Piscopo was among the volunteers who handed out the bags to children last year.
“It was a fabulous experience,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who come to the event year after year and get the school supplies. The kids and parents are super excited to get the school supplies.”
The bags are customized based on grade level, with elementary school bags getting the crayons and markers and older students receiving calculators, graph paper and combination locks.
The items being collected are pencils, pens, spiral notebooks, three-ring binders, loose leaf paper (both wide-ruled and college-ruled), pencil bags, 12-inch rulers, crayons (box of 24), glue (bottles of 4 oz. or a glue stick), washable markers (box of 8), colored pencils, composition books, folders (with three holes), blunt-end scissors, boxes of tissues, erasers, index tab dividers for binders, graph paper, school supply boxes, combination locks and calculators.
Other local businesses and organizations are also participating in the school supply drive. Items can be dropped off at Bethel AME, 645 S. Richard Allen Court; Farmers Insurance, 905 E. Wellesley Ave.; Hospice of Spokane, 121 S. Arthur St.; Legacy Boxing Club, 12929 E. Sprague Ave.; Roybal Chiropractic, 1203 W. Francis Ave.; State Farm, 12120 E. Mission Ave.; and WSU Spokane Student Affairs Office, 600 N. Riverpoint Drive.
The donated supplies will be hauled to a central location to be sorted and bagged by volunteers from STCU and other organizations on Aug. 15. Piscopo said they hope to collect enough supplies to give out another 1,400 bags this year.
“It can be a large financial burden to buy school supplies,” Piscopo said.
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