Getting Emily Ready for Preschool

Aug 23, 2019

Until recently, 4-year-old Emily was a bit nervous about starting preschool, with its new schedule, building, and school uniform. But the other day she proudly announced, “Mommy, I’m ready.”

What prompted the newfound confidence? Receiving a new backpack full of notebooks, pencils, crayons and more at a three-day school supplies distribution held at The Salvation Army’s Mayfair Community Church.

“She was most excited about the bookbag itself,” said Emily’s mom, Marsha. They both found it meaningful that they got to choose what color notebook, which pack of colored pencils and what kind of glue stick Emily wanted.

“When we were there, we both felt so grateful,” Marsha said. “Emily knew Mommy needed help, and we were there because people were willing to help. That night in her prayers, she thanked God for everyone who helped us. It really impacted her.”

Marsha was moved by what she called a welcoming atmosphere at the distribution. “It’s hard for me, needing some help. So it was good being there and seeing that we’re not alone.”

At the Mayfair distribution, parents like Marsha were greeted by Salvation Army staff and volunteers, given a backpack and ushered through a line of bins full of supplies to choose from. All the supplies came from our recent Stuff the Bus event, for which The Salvation Army teamed up with Walmart to collect school supplies at Walmart stores nationwide. Salvation Army corps are distributing these supplies to families in need as a part of our back-to-school activities.

“I’m tremendously grateful for the ones who can help, and take the time to help others in need. Even a little help – just a box of pencils – goes a long way,” said Marsha, who works part time as a teacher’s assistant for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). While the job’s schedule allows the single mom to care for her young daughter, it doesn’t offer benefits or a paycheck in the summer. This summer Marsha got seasonal work at a YMCA and is hoping to land a fulltime position at CPS this fall.   

“Receiving the supplies helped so much,” Marsha said. “And it motivates me to give back whenever I can.” Clearly the supplies motivated Emily as well to head to preschool excited, equipped and ready to learn.

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