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CHUM seeks supplies for 1st day of school

With the approach of the start of school, many families are heading to the store for school supplies. It's an exciting time for young people who get to pick out notebooks and pens, crayons and construction paper. But it can be a sad time for many...

With the approach of the start of school, many families are heading to the store for school supplies. It's an exciting time for young people who get to pick out notebooks and pens, crayons and construction paper. But it can be a sad time for many youngsters growing up in families who can't afford these basic supplies. The staff at Central Hillside United Ministries (CHUM) sees it every year. But this year they hope will be different.
Staff members are asking families who are shopping for school supplies to pick up extra supplies and donate them to CHUM. Or buy a backpack and fill it with supplies for one child. Gear the purchases toward a student in kindergarten through third grade, or fourth grade through sixth. CHUM will distribute them to needy families.
School supplies can always be shared among classmates, but Friedman says having a sense of ownership of at least some of the supplies can put a child on more equal footing with their peers. "A child doesn't need to have their own pack of color crayons," Friedman said. "They can share. But for children it's real important to be the same as other children and to have that sense of 'these are mine.' This helps them to start out the school year equal to their classmates and have their own supplies."
The whole experience of picking out school supplies for another child can be a learning experience in itself, says Peg Friedman, volunteer coordinator at CHUM. "As parents are buying supplies, they can take their kids with them and talk about those who don't have school supplies. Take a basket and talk about it. Make it into a family project."
In fact, many of the drives sponsored by CHUM are geared so that kids can participate. "We tried to come up with projects that would be very short, very simple and yet have meaning and support the community. And we really tried to design them so they could be things you could talk about with the children in your family. I believe everyone has the desire to help people. That's a human characteristic: loving kindness. It's a great way to teach kids to look at the world and see areas of need."

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