Help a student succeed: Parish House seeks school supplies as they fill 900 backpacks

BUCKHANNON – It is not too soon to be planning for ‘back to school,’ and the Upshur Parish House is starting to collect supplies to fill backpacks for students in Upshur County elementary, middle and high schools. Parish House Executive Director Kristi Wilkerson provided a list of items that can be donated to help fill the much-needed backpacks.

Wilkerson said the Parish House is looking for donations of the following supplies:

  • Backpacks 17 inches or larger
  • Ruled and college ruled loose leaf filler paper
  • Single subject notebooks
  • Packs of markers
  • Safety scissors for elementary students
  • Packs of 24-count Crayola crayons
  • Highlighters
  • Pink eraser blocks
  • Glue sticks
  • Pocket folders
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Pencils and pens
  • Blank index note cards
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hairbrushes and combs
  • Deodorant

“The school supply giveaway is an annual event that provides students in grades Pre-K through 12th grade with a new backpack filled with homework supplies, as well as some personal hygiene supplies,” Wilkerson said. “We are asking for donations by the end of July. We will then prefill the backpacks the first week of August and distribute them just prior to school starting.”

Over the last few years, Wilkerson said the Parish House has been talking with local teachers and school principals to assure they are filling the packs with the most needed items.

“We have switched it up a bit based on what the teachers and principals have shared they need,” she said. “We are responding to the student needs.”

The backpacks are for any student in need in Upshur County, including students who are homeschooled or who attend school virtually.

“Any neighbor in need is welcome to come and get a backpack,” Wilkerson said. “The student can pick out the backpack they want, and there will be many to choose from. This year we are working to prefill approximately 900 backpacks.”

Once the backpacks are collected and volunteers put together, the Upshur Parish House will begin distribution of the packs on August 8. They will be available at the Parish House, located at 68 College Ave. in Buckhannon, on Monday, Aug. 8, from 2 to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 9, from 2 to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday, Aug. 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. 

Wilkerson said to check the Parish House Facebook page for any possible additional locations, days and times for backpack distribution.

Also, Upshur Parish House administrators want to remind neighbors in need of the following:

  • Right now, the Upshur Parish House is offering free take-out lunches on Wednesdays at noon. Anyone who wants a lunch can come by and pick one up.
  • The food pantry at the Upshur Parish House is open daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additionally, the food pantry is open on Thursday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. They are happy to help with food packages, hygiene items, cleaning supplies and diapers. Also, Holy Rosary Church has a diaper bank open on Thursday mornings.
  • The Upshur Parish House helps with utility and rent assistance. More information is available during their hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Clothing vouchers are available at the Upshur Parish House for the Clothes Closet four times a year.

“We invite folks with a need to come and see if we can help,” Wilkerson said. “If there is another agency we can refer the neighbor in need to, we will be happy to do that, or if we can figure out a way to help them, we will do that.”

The Upshur Parish House is on Facebook or can be reached by calling 304-472-0743.

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