By Tiffany Williams
Back to school can be an exciting time for students of all ages but for some if they don’t have the right tools it can be a struggle. Students need essential items like pencils and papers to be able to help their learning process.
The Tools for School program is designed to help ensure that all Alberta grade school students receive the educational supplies that they need. According to some statistics the demand for basic supplies such as pens, paper and folders are as high as one in every six students, most of whom are at the elementary school level.
The program is sponsored by Ponoka Family and Community Support Services and program coordinator Kimberly McMurrary thinks that every donation counts. “Whether monetary or purchased, it is used locally for children in Ponoka County,” said McMurrary. “This program supplements what some families have a hard time affording for their children.”
She thinks that school expenses can add up, and this helps to take some of that stress away so that children have an increased opportunity to excel in their schoolwork.
“We wouldn’t want something as simple as school supplies to be a barrier for our youth, either financially or emotionally,” McMurrary.
FCSS is very community and family focused and McMurray thinks that if they can organize a program where there is a need they will continue to run it. FCSS sorts all of the donations and they are given out according to the supply list given by teachers. Students then come by the office to ‘shop’ for school supplies.
McMurrary says that the most in demand items are: backpacks, binders (one or two inch), calculators, dividers, duotangs, erasers, exercise books, glue sticks, lined paper, non-toxic markers, pencil cases, pencil sharpeners, pencils (number two), pencil crayons, pens, rulers, scribblers.
From the response and success from the families she thinks that it is a very important program for the community.
“We can only imagine what joy a child or youth would have who can come to FCSS to ‘shop’ confidentially for the needed supplies, and then attend school with confidence,” she said.
People can drop off supplies for students in need at the following locations in town: Rexall Drugs, Post Office, IGA, Extra Foods and Gas Bar, Sommers Home Hardware, Bargain Store, Ponoka Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, Ponoka Youth Centre, Bottle Depot, Liquidation World, The Complete Wellness Centre, Central Office Supplies, Coffee Hut, Bruce’s True Value, Neighbourhood Place, Ponoka Jubliee Library and FCSS.
For more information on the program contact FCSS at 403-783-4462.