Amongst teachers and concerned community members, buying extra classroom supplies for students seems to be an unspoken rule.
“The littlest things can affect a child,” Susan Hall, second grade teacher at Marion Elementary School, said. “Some are oblivious to the fact, but we don’t even give them a chance to notice if they’re missing something, because if they see someone next to them has something new, they wonder, ‘why don’t I have that?’”
MES first grade teacher Ginger Becker said the school tries to head off any negative feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment from not having basic school supplies by keeping track of what students are missing when they check in for the school year.
“We never want them to worry if they’re going to have crayons for an assignment,” Becker said. “Embarrassment can affect learning. Some kids just shut down.
“We want everyone to feel equal. Dignity is so important. Just because some parents might be going through hard times doesn’t mean a child should, too.”
Marion Middle School teacher Deanna Thierolf said she believes all teachers buy more supplies than they need just to have extra for students.
“I always buy a box of notebooks when they are on sale to take to school,” Thierolf said. “We’ve had donations from other sources, too.”
Becker said community organizations, churches and individuals also donate school supplies, clothing, and shoes throughout the year.
Many community partners are in the midst of school supply drives to benefit children in all districts of the county.
Items are being accepted at Marion County Food Bank and Resource Center, Butler Community College of Marion, Marion Parks and Recreation Department office, Carlsons’ Grocery, Lanning Pharmacy, and St. Luke Hospital.
Numerous churches are also involved, and some may distribute donations directly.
Amy Kjellin, with Butler, said people can also take donations straight to the food bank, and people can still make donations after distribution begins.
Families may access donations at the food bank at 1220 E. Main St. in Marion from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug.4, 11, and 18, 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 11 and 15, or at MES after school starts.
School supplies for USD 410 students also can be dropped off and picked up at Hillsboro Elementary School office.
In USD 411, the Goessel Ministerial Alliance donates school supplies that can be picked up at school upon enrollment.
Other county school districts, churches, and communities likely have similar supply drives, and should be contacted for details.
More information also is available from Amy Kjellin at (620) 382-2183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.