SA school supply drive ends Friday

The local Salvation Army is currently taking applications for its annual back-to-school supply drive, as the charity hopes to send are children back to class with all the materials necessary for a successful school year.According to Bessie Flores, social worker for the charity group, the Salvation Army will accept applications for assistance through the program through Friday, from 9 a.m. until noon at the Salvation Army office located at 811 W. Fifth St.“It's really amazing how easily the back to school season can creep up on you each year,” Flores said. “It seems like it comes earlier and earlier each year.”Flores said the annual effort makes a big difference in the lives of children who might not otherwise have school supplies to start the year.“It's hard enough to get back into the books after a whole summer off,” Flores said. “When you don't have the things you need — notebooks, paper, pencils — it just makes it that much harder. Education can make a huge difference in these kids' lives, and we need to do everything we can to support them.”Flores said the application process is simple and quick, and in most cases parents who are approved can pick up the school supplies the same day they apply for them.“We'll be doing the application and distribution the same way we did it last year,” Flores said. “The parents come in and fill out the paperwork, and if they are eligible, they can pick up the supplies right then. It makes it easier to keep up with our supply, and it makes it easier on them because they don’t have to make a second trip to the office.“We need people who are coming in to apply to bring a birth certificate or Medicaid card for each child. We also need to know what school the child is going to and what grade they will be in. Also, bring proof of income and expenses and a picture ID for the person applying for the program.”In the meantime, one ingredient the annual program can still use is donations, according to Flores.“If they would rather make a monetary donation instead of going out and buying the supplies, it actually saves a little bit of money,” Flores said. “The Salvation Army is tax exempt, so we don’t have to pay the taxes on them. But if they prefer to purchase the supplies and bring them to us, it’s fine as well. If they make a monetary donation, they also need to earmark it for the back-to-school supplies.”For more information on the program, contact the Salvation Army at 267-8239.