(Springfield, MO) -- Pencils, paper and backpacks. Those words mean back to school shopping is just around the corner. But some families aren't able to afford the supplies their children need for school.
The Salvation Army's Back-To-School Drive is there to help change that. The program helps kids from kindergarten until high school. The goal, is to give families one less thing to worry about before school starts.
Schascity Bernal is an honor roll student heading into the 6th grade. Even though she's still got about three weeks left of summer vacation, she already has the back to school jitters. "I'm nervous as can be. I'm afraid I'll get lost," said Schascity.
In addition to navigating around a new school, one thing Schascity didn't want to worry about is whether she'll have school supplies. "In this economy now days we can't really afford it," said Schascity. Schascity's grandmother, Jackie Smith, agrees. She's helping raise Schascity on a Social Security check. "We'd have to not pay a utility bill or something like that to get school supplies, and then risk getting the utilities turned off," said Smith.
That's why the pair came here to the salvation army for help with the basics. "Glue, pencils, paper and so forth," said Schascity.
Last year Salvation Army volunteers filled around 600 bags with school supplies, and this year they expect to fill around two hundred more. "We've only been doing this one day and we actually had 100 children sign up, so it looks like its going to go through the roof," said Major Norman Grainger.
Major Grainger said he's expecting about a 25 percent increase, which is about how much food pantry services have already gone up. "We are seeing new faces, new families we're seeing like a couple come in that worked for the same company and both got laid off at the same time and that's difficult to take," said Grainger.
Jackie Smith said she's thankful this program is there, to help make her granddaughter's first day of school a little easier. "We need the help. Without it we wouldn't make it," said Smith.
People can still sign up for back to school supplies through the Salvation army. Sign-up days are from July 27th to August 7th from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M and on Monday July 27th and Monday August 3rd from 5 P.M. until 7 P.M. Families must bring in a social security card for all members of the household, proof of income and proof of residency.
All the donated school supplies will be distributed on August 20th, in collaboration with the United Way's Day of Caring. People can bring supplies to the Salvation Army's location on Chestnut Expressway or mail them a check. And organizers did mention that a $15 donation will provide a backpack full of supplies for one child.