Shawn Jones can't wait to head to fourth grade at Perryville Elementary School.
But first, he has to get his supplies together.
Jones, one of the youngest members of the Perryville Police Department's Outreach Program, will be both a collector and sorter of back to school supplies. Once again, the outreach is collecting notebooks, paper, book bags, lunch sacks, and more. These items will be distributed to outreach members, and then to youths in the community if there is a good supply.
Jesse Lilly, Director of the Outreach Program said that more than 80 members, ages 10-18, are helping to gather the supplies. They will then use them when school starts on August 22.
The following items may be dropped at the Outreach Program (next to Perryville Police Department, Otsego Street) between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday: Backpacks, lunch-boxes, loose-leaf paper, crayons, pencils, rulers, pens, highlighters, folders with pockets/clips, dividers, and other supplies from school-provided lists.
The items will be distributed on August 20 from 3-6 p.m. "We've gotten a lot of calls from people who want help. We've also gotten calls from people who want to give," said Lilly. "If parents come asking us for help, we try to help them. The kids deserve it. Last year, we had so many members who needed the bare necessities."
Large items, such as backpacks and lunch boxes, will be used as rewards for children who have performed community service projects or completed educational programs through the outreach.
"We want to keep the idea of helping your community in the forefront. We are using kids who need the help themselves (for sorting and collecting)," said Lilly. "This promotes understanding between two kids who may not have been friends before."
Jones said he encourages everyone to donate if they can. He said that kids who don't have new things might feel bad when they see others that have new school supplies.