Volunteers from the Walmart Distribution Center, members of the Rotary Clubs and board members for CIS and United Way greeted customers as the entered the Walmart Supercenters in Monroe and Loganville and presented them with wish-lists of the supplies needed. Customers picked up a few items and donated them at the school buses on the way out of the store. At the end of the two-day event, two school buses were completely filled, with bins and boxes overflowing in each seat.
Site Coordinators and school counselors were able to meet at FISH to pick up the supplies and take them back to the schools. Students will be able to get exactly what they need on-site at school.
"It is important that students get a fresh start and have what they need to start school," said Walton County Superintendent Gary Hobbs. "When they don't have the resources they need, it is very hard to get started on the right foot."
According to the Backpack Index, an annual national study conducted by Huntington Bancshares of Ohio, the cost of equipping K-12 public school students for this school year has jumped as much as 20 percent, one of the largest year-over-year increases in the eight-year history of the Index. During the same period, average hourly nonfarm payroll earnings rose just 2.05 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increases in back-to-school costs also far outpaced the Consumer Price Index, which rose 2.1 percent for the same time period.
"As principal of one of the schools that receives these supplies, I want to say how much we appreciate the volunteers who helped with this drive," said Bryan Hicks, principal at Monroe Area High School. "Having these items in stock at the school helps many of our students start the school year on the right foot and stay on track all year."