The summer has been lean in terms of donations for Payson Community Kids, which will make the success of the program's annual back-to-school drive all that more crucial.
The annual PCK drive for clothes, shoes and supplies helps the approximately 50 local children who participate year-round in the after school program. The drive also helps children in the Time Out Shelter.
"What is scary, is I had a grandfather from Mesa call me who wanted Payson Community Kids to give his grandchildren clothes," said Marcy Rogers, PCK director.
With that phone call and calls from other parents of children who are not in the program, she said, "I can tell already that we will really need help this year to meet the needs of the children."
The program assists "at risk" children between the ages of 3 and 15.
Usually by this time in the year, Rogers has been able to purchase backpacks for the children of a quality to last until May.
But that has not happened this year and she is still looking for backpack donations.
"We are starting pretty much from zero as far as new clothes go," Rogers said.
Currently, PCK has new socks and a few pairs of shoes. They accept new and used clothes.
"We welcome used clothes if they are washed and do not have any stains or tears," Rogers said.
Those children who have been part of the program are helped first because getting new clothing and supplies is something they look forward to and work for all year. Children who are living in Time Out's shelter have no choice where they are -- so the drive is for them as well.
PCK is willing to help children in outlying areas, but their names are placed on a waiting list.
To be placed on that list a local parent would need to meet with Rogers to have his or her income and housing situation verified.
The after school program is from 3 until 5 p.m. weekdays. Once school begins there will be a break for a couple of weeks.
Children in PCK's after school program make crafts, learn how things grow from Master Gardeners, have music lessons once a week and learn to clean up after themselves.
For the past two years, there have been five to six older teens who are paid minimum wage to work at PCK.
One of the teens' duties is to help serve meals to the 30-plus children who have been in attendance each day this summer.
Courtesy of Whispering Hope Ranch sponsors, 45 children were able to spend a weekend at the Ranch this summer.
The challenge, according to Rogers, is to balance making the program fun for "the kids" yet leaving herself time to plan fund-raisers and write for grants.
"I appreciate the help of all my volunteers," she said.
Donation boxes are located at Payson Town Hall, the Payson Police Department, both fire stations and the Payson Public Library.
Donations can also be made at Time Out's thrift store and at PCK at 300 W. Wade Lane.
Checks are also appreciated and can be made out to Time Out or Payson Community Kids and mailed care of the Wade address.
PCK has been chosen to be the recipient of funds raised by Pioneer Title Agency's Tenth Annual Golf Tournament at the Payson Golf Course. The tournament will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. For more information about the event, call (928) 474-3235.
For more information about the back to school drive, call (928) 474-7163.
-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail email@example.com.
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