ELIZABETHTOWN — With summer quickly winding down and talk of the upcoming school year growing more each day, students and parents everywhere are making preparations for the transition.
There were quite a few lucky kids and parents last week who decided to get ahead of the game and rack up on some school supplies — all completely for free.
On Wednesday, the Bladen County Public Library in Elizabethtown hosted its final summer reading program of the summer last week.
Because it was the last program of the summer the program leaders decided to do something different and, instead of having activities and story time, they invited Stephanie McLean, director of Regional Community Development with the Goodwill Community Foundation located in Durham. McLean brought in more than 20o bags full of school supplies — including notebooks, pencils, glue sticks, erasers, hand sanitizer, rulers, scissors, crayons and pencil sharpener.
“We get donations over the year and then we go and purchase school supplies,” McLean said. “Then we have volunteers that package everything.”
The library held registration for a few weeks in order to get a head count on how many supplies to bring and stopped registration at 150 kids. However, on the day of the event, many parents were still calling hoping to register their kids. A total of 196 children arrived for the event and 111 parents came to assist.
“This event is so important to me, each child that recievs one of these gives me a chance to meet them personally and give a word of encouragement to do well in school or to enjoy their experience in the classroom,” McLean said, who added that it’s Goodwill Community Foundation’s second year coming to Bladen County and seventh year overall doing school supply giveaways.
“We give out supplies every year to children who may not have any other option or resources and we do it for the parents to take a little weight off their shoulders,” she said. “We see these gatherings as a way to celebrate and get kids and parents excited and on the right track for the school year coming up.”
While the K-12 students recieved a bag of school supplies, the younger preschoolers did not walk away empty-handed, thanks to the library staff who put together goody bags for those not yet eligible for school.
Library assistant and program leader of the Summer Reading Program, Susan Guyton, stated this summer has been very eventfull and each year their program continues to grow bigger. The goal, she said, is to get kids involved and continue to read throughout the summer.
“We are so thankful for the kids and the parents that come out all summer and make this program possible, and we hope that next summer even more kids will want to get involved,” said Guyton.
Madison McLamb can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.