Duo Chalks Up Back-To-School Drive

School supplies needed

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Children love backpacks.

"...All kinds of backpacks, because we have boys, girls; little ones and big ones," said Jean Oliver, education coordinator for Time Out.

Payson Community Kids and Time Out Shelter have joined together for their annual back-to-school drive.

"And socks. Isn't that interesting? Socks are always important," Oliver said.

And nothing goes better with socks than shoes.

Marcy Rogers, director of Payson Community Kids, said her program can always use shoes because her program helps children of all ages.

The benevolent fund of Mt. Cross Lutheran Church is going to help the back-to-school drive by providing shoes, Rogers said. Additional footwear donations will certainly find homes on student feet.

For those wanting to give new clothing donations, Rogers said many parents request T-shirts and jeans.

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Nikki colors the Payson Community Kids logo for the back-to-school boxes to help collect shoes, backpacks and other school supplies.

"It's such a shock to go back so early in the heat," she said. "It's hard to buy pants. We try to follow up with coats around October."

The supply drive will also accept gently used clothing in good condition.

"We have kids here from preschool to high school at the moment, so we are always appreciative of the community's contributions," said Oliver.

Specific school and teacher requirements are available at the schools. Some are located on a table behind the cashiers at Wal-Mart.

"These general school supplies are always appreciated," Oliver said.

Paper, pencils, crayons, washable markers, notebooks, glue, erasers, folders and Kleenex are among the staples of school supplies.

"Almost all of the teachers in elementary school want the students to bring Kleenex," Oliver said. "Some of them even want the kids to bring disposable cameras and sometimes paper plates." Teachers ask for cameras to send pictures home with the students or they use pictures for craft projects.

Rogers said people who are interested in contributing to the back-to-school drive can drop off school supplies in designated boxes at: Payson Town Hall, the Community Development Department, Payson Fire Station, Payson Library, Payson Water Department, and Time Out Thrift Store.

Cash donations are asked to be made out to the organization of your choice.

"We usually have 50 kids on a waiting list to start out," Rogers said.

"Those are the kids that do the cleanups and work all year and that are in the program."

The number of children each organization is able to help out depends on the amount of supplies and money the community donates.

"I have already been down to Ross and purchased 20 backpacks. Those are already gone. They went to children in the after-school program who help with the (Payson Community Kids) center and the Main Street cleanup. The kids in our program are our first priority because they give back to the community all year and I have their families' income verified."

Rogers said children must meet certain criteria to participate in the Payson Community Kids program.

"They need to be income qualified," Rogers said. "Meaning if they haven't received back-to-school supplies from us before, then they need to contact me at my office (928) 474-5242 ext. 2269 and they need to bring in a copy of their pay stub because (the program) is for low-income families."

"We like to have people leave their names and addresses so that we can thank them with a note or give them a receipt, whatever they would like," Oliver said. "We know they are taking time out of their day and money out of their pockets to help our kids."

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