Rogers, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Despite COVID-19, the Samaritan Community Center still plans to send 4,000 students off to school with all the supplies they need. But they need your help to make it happen.
Back-to-school shopping can get expensive.
“An average simple backpack, we broke it down, is roughly $40. So, you know, if you’ve got more than one kid it just adds up,” Samaritan Community Center In-Kind Manager Shannon Green said.
And fewer people have the means during this public health emergency.
“We’re serving about 150% more than what we were doing this time last year so the need is definitely up and we’re seeing that the percentage of first-time visitors, people that have never come to us before for assistance, that has tripled,” SCC Executive Director Debbie Rambo said.
But pandemic or not, school will resume.
“We provide backpacks filled with age-appropriate school supplies to children across Northwest Arkansas,” Rambo said.
For 20 years, Samaritan Community Center has been helping students with its Backpack for Kids program.
“Last year we did about 4,000 backpacks filled with school supplies,” Rambo said.
Usually, churches and businesses hold drives to help fill those backpacks. But with churches closed and people working from home, those school supply drives have not taken place. SCC already has the backpacks.
“We got a generous grant from Tyson Foods that actually paid for the backpacks,” Rambo said.
Now, they are working on getting the supplies.
“We’re all struggling right now. COVID is kind of taking over and we just want to make sure that all the kids in Northwest Arkansas that need the extra help get that help from us,” Green said.
The plan is to put together another 4,000 backpacks this year. If you’d like to donate or learn more about the program, click here.