BUCKHANNON – Before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, the Upshur Parish House provided back to school backpacks full of supplies to 772 kids, the executive director of the Upshur Parish House said.
This year, Kristi Wilkerson said she hopes to surpass that number. Wilkerson said the Parish House aims to fill more than 800 backpacks to distribute to Upshur County students in grades kindergarten through 12. Wilkerson said the packs are intended to ensure students have supplies in their homes to complete homework – whether they attend school in the school building or receive their lessons virtually at home.
She said the Parish House is seeking an array of needed items to fill the packs for giveaway the first week of August; final details of the giveaway will be announced closer to the end of July. Wilkerson, a member of the Upshur County Board of Education, said she recently checked with Upshur County teachers to update the Parish House’s list of items instructors felt students needed.
Donated items desired include:
- 17- to 19-inch or larger backpacks for elementary, middle and high school students – especially ones for boys
- Markers and highlighters
- Safety scissors for elementary students
- 24-count crayons (Crayola brand preferred)
- Packs of loose leaf/filler paper, both wide-ruled and college-ruled
- Rectangular pink erasers
- Glue sticks
- Single-subject notebooks, both wide-ruled and college-ruled
- Pocket folders
- Pencil sharpeners
- Blank index and note cards
“What we focus on is making sure the students have the supplies they need to do their homework,” Wilkerson said. “There is a levy in Upshur County and the schools have what they need, primarily, for the students during the day. So that is our focus – to make sure students have a backpack and to make sure they have the items they need to do their homework.”
Wilkerson said some neighbors have donated money to purchase supplies, and she is on the lookout out for sales on the needed items to get the best value for the donations. She said neighbors wishing to donate may also go online and have the donations shipped to the Upshur Parish House at the following address:
Upshur Parish House, 68 College Avenue
Buckhannon, WV 26201
Wilkerson said this is a wonderful way to help – especially for those who are still cautious because of COVID.
(In addition, shoppers who use Amazon might check out Amazon Smile to help the Parish House twice – first by buying needed homework-related items and second, the site smile.amazon.com enables 0.5 percent of the amount you spend on eligible purchases to go directly to the Upshur Cooperative Parish. Simply visit smile.amazon.com, click ‘Get Started’ and search for ‘Upshur Cooperative Parish.’)
Wilkerson said if you encounter a great deal on back-to-school supplies, share that information with the Parish House as well as your family, friends and neighbors.
“We are also hoping folks will share when they find good deals on needed items,” Wilkerson said. “Let us know so we can let folks know where to shop and stretch the funds and get more supplies.”
Wilkerson said neighbors wishing to help by making donations may drop the items off at the Upshur Parish House, located at the corner of College Avenue and Sedgwick Street, where their hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. She said donations can be left on the porch after hours, and volunteers check for donations throughout the day.
Often, neighbors who receive assistance return that kindness when they can, Wilkerson said.
“Many of our neighbors do give back to the community through the Parish House in many ways,” she noted. “People will volunteer when they find themselves in a better situation; they will donate items to the Clothes Closet. We are so appreciative of all everyone in the community does, especially our neighbors – they say, ‘it takes a village.’ It takes our whole community to do something like the backpack program school supplies and all of the other programs we have, and we are grateful to each person, organization or church, and to our neighbors who assist us, too, as they can.”
Wilkerson said the hope is that donated items for the school supply backpacks will be received at the Upshur Parish House by the end of July. Distribution of items will begin the first week of August; check the Upshur Parish House Facebook page at facebook.com/upshurparishhouse for details on dates and times for distribution.
Additional information is available by calling the Upshur Parish House at 304-472-0743.