Aug 29, 2022

It’s that time of year again!

Kids are back to school. That means The Salvation Army’s school supplies drives have been in full swing, getting the essentials in the hands of students and teachers who might not otherwise have access to them.

In Sullivan, Mo., 700 items went out at a two-day event in August, including backpacks, glue sticks, pencils, rubber bands, markers, highlighters, notebooks, and folders. Five hundred dollars in donations were collected for a teachers’ shopping wish list.

Community participation with the local Wal-Mart and its employees, police department, Show Me CPR, and students and teachers from the school district helped make the Sullivan occasion successful.

The school supplies were loaded onto a school bus before they were distributed, as part of Stuff the Bus, Wal-Mart’s annual partnership with The Salvation Army.

Teachers were given free rein of the $500 in donations to spend as they saw fit to equip each classroom with more tools.

“Obviously, you can donate anything, but these are the specific supplies that would really help out the school district,” said Emily Lewis, chairperson for the Sullivan Salvation Army service extension location. “Especially people shopping who don’t have kids, they would ask, ‘What do you need?’"

At The Salvation Army Jefferson County Service Center, 78 backpacks packed with school supplies were requested from the community. Those have been going out every Wednesday at the extension’s food pantry service.

Mercy Hospital South donated the backpacks, which were picked up by Salvation Army volunteers before going into the hands of students.

“We had a kindergartener come in yesterday, and she was so excited,” Marilyn Luhrs, Salvation Army office manager, said. “She picked up her sister’s, who is in middle school. She asked what in world was in it because it was so heavy. The older children get more things, notebooks, etc., that little ones don't need.”

The Salvation Army participated in a Randolph County back-to-school drive with Family Life Fellowship and North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC), the latter of whom shared a table with The Salvation Army at the event.

Family Life Fellowship donated 300 backpacks in Randolph County. The Salvation Army donated glue sticks, scissors, and stickers to go with the backpacks.

“It’s a really great opportunity to assist families that can’t afford all the supplies that comes with starting school, yet it’s also a great opportunity to bring information to the community with what we can assist them with throughout the year,” Tiffanie Anthes, NECAC Intake Specialist for Randolph County, said.

In poorer areas, the cost of providing school supplies can often fall on teachers. School supplies drives can help alleviate out-of-pocket spending by teachers, who may be working with a limited budget.

To donate to local back-to-school services, volunteer or learn more about The Salvation Army’s efforts in Missouri and southern Illinois, visit or on Facebook at @salarmystl.

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