ARMAGH — Recently, the Indiana County Department of Human Services; ARIN’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program; the Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps; and the human services subcommittee of the Indiana County Emergency Community Planning Committee organized a school supply drive.
This drive was held in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day of service, which is celebrated every third Monday in January. The organizers of this collection invited churches, clubs and schools in the area to donate items. These school supplies are then used to enable homeless students to have the ability to attend school fully prepared.
United Junior High School students helped out with that goal. Almost any school supply could be donated, including pencils, notebooks, book covers and backpacks. Teachers offered their students extra credit and homework passes for bringing in items.
[PHOTO: Students who helped organize the school supplies collected during United Junior High School’s supply drive are, from left, eighth-graders Garrett Duckworth and Anna Higgins, and seventh-graders Blake Sherba and Kalee Hill. (Submitted photo/United High School)]
Laurie Deem’s and Amy Shellhammer’s social studies classes had a competition to bring in items and Shellhammer’s seventh-grade period C class and Deem’s eighth-grade period C class each won.
In total, the seventh- and eighth-grade students brought in more than 4,000 items for the drive. Overall, in Indiana County, 5,844 school supply items were collected and will be distributed to homeless students within the area.
Shellhammer organized the event for United.
“About three or four years ago there was a blurb about the drive in the paper and I thought the kids would enjoy helping out by bringing in items. They have done just that, and they have done great. I am very proud of them,” Shellhammer said. She also mentioned that United has a good history with helping out.
“Last year our school donated more supplies to the drive than anyone in the county, which is a feat we repeated this year, as well.”
Erin Nagle, Ashley Morgan and Alexxis Neuner, seventh-grade students, all donated items to the MLK school supply drive. Between them, the girls brought in items including notebooks, pencils, folders and erasers.
Nagle said it felt “great helping out the community.”
Morgan agreed, stating, “It was nice and I did it for the homeless children.”
Neuner added, “It felt nice to help out others!”