Thousands of pencils, papers, bookbags and other donated school supplies helped launch students in York and Lancaster county schools to a good start this month.
“This is probably our best year since we’ve been doing this,” Serena Williams, coordinator of community services for Rock Hill schools, said of the annual school supply drive. “It seems like we were able to serve a larger spectrum of students, kindergarten through 12th grade.”
The Herald and its community newspapers, the Fort Mill Times, Lake Wylie Pilot and Enquirer-Herald, partnered with the four York County school districts and Lancaster County schools to promote the eighth annual school supply drive.
“Once again, Herald readers have risen to the occasion and provided children with the tools they need to successfully start the school year,” said Debbie Abels, publisher for The Herald. “Thank you for your generosity. You have made a difference in children’s lives.”
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Students in Rock Hill schools received 800 backpacks stuffed with school supplies donated during the four-week drive, which included an Aug. 8 Stuff the Bus event, Williams said.
In addition, Williams said, each Rock Hill school guidance counselor received two large moving boxes filled with loose school supplies left over after the backpacks were filled.
On Tuesday, the Rock Hill district received an additional donation of more than $22,000 in supplies from Elevation Church in Rock Hill. The church donated five pallets of items, including 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies, 3,000 hygiene kits and 3,600 kits packed with food and juice boxes.
“Elevation Church is honored to support Rock Hill schools because we believe in demonstrating compassion, unity, selflessness and service,” said Tim Fara, Elevation Church Rock Hill campus pastor.
Williams said the gifts from Elevation Church will support students in need of school supplies and will assist with hygiene concerns. The food and juice boxes will be distributed through Back the Pack, a program that combats childhood hunger by providing nonperishable food and snacks for students during weekends.
Fara said the donations were produced during Love Week, the church’s annual community-wide outreach initiative.
Other school districts also reported generation donations.
The Foundation for Fort Mill Schools gave away more than 350 backpacks and 12,000 school supplies. The foundation also offered an open house for guidance counselors and school representatives to visit its supply room and get what they need.
“Our community came together and made amazing things happen for families in our community who needed help this year with school supplies,” said Lynn Ringley, executive director of the foundation. “We are so grateful to all who have given their time or donations to make Classroom Ready a reality.”
York schools received at least 500 bookbags already packed with supplies and a large variety of other donations from churches, other groups and individuals, said Beverley Bowman, assistant superintendent.
“We were very, very blessed this year,” Bowman said. “It was so much. The support from the community was just amazing.”
In Clover, 600 backpacks filled with school supplies were handed out Aug. 14 to students in the school district at the annual Back-to-School Kickoff at Memorial Stadium.
“The community support was astonishing, with an abundance of supplies donated by the likes of New River Church and the York County Sheriff’s Office,” said Clover schools spokesman Bryan Dillon.
Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077