Tree of Promise collecting school supplies for ‘More than a Backpack’ program

by Staff reports

RUSK – While the school year may have just ended, local ministries like the Tree of Promise are reminding people that it’s never too early to begin thinking about school supplies.

The local ministry is collecting funds to purchase supplies in bulk for a distribution day later this summer at the Rusk Civic Center, with supplies for little students and bigger ones, too.

“Our goal is to fill 300 backpacks this year,” said Lezlie Carvell, program executive director. “We’re getting supplies for students in Pre-K to high school, and we need financial donations to pay for the supplies we’ve ordered.”

“Before More than a Backpack, a few churches would provide school supplies, handing out a total of 150 to 200 sets, with costs from $30 to $50 per set of supplies,” she said.

“By combing the resources for our community, we have given out over 2,500 sets of supplies since 2014, at an average cost of about $23 per set,” she added. “Last year, with COVID limiting both our fundraising and access to families, we were still able to give out 290 sets of school supplies to students from Pre-K to 12th.”

The 2021 event is slated from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3, at the Civic Center, with approximately $10,000 supplies ordered based upon teachers’ supplies lists.

“We order what the teachers need for each grade level, so that the kids have everything they need,” Carvell said, adding that sponsors can contribute for some or all of a particular item.

Items will not be pre-packaged, but instead, students will take their supply lists and “shop” at the Civic Center on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We’ll have everything – Kleenex, paper, markers, pens … whatever they need,” she said.

Students must provide proof of residence within Rusk ISD to participate.