Non-profit distributes school supplies to Washington County students

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - Hundreds stood in line Monday morning outside the doors of St. Luke's Episcopal Church where the Washington County School Supply Drive was handing out backpacks, helping students and parents prepare for the new academic year.

For more than a decade, the locally run non-profit organization has been providing free school supplies to students who might not otherwise have been able to afford them.

"It's the best example of organized chaos you can have," WCSSD board member Bob Wesnesky told 2NEWS. He was inside the building working with more than a dozen volunteers — some sitting at desks checking names and others bustling about delivering backpacks to the parents and students as they approached the desks.

"This is our high point today," he said, saying nearly 300 volunteers sacrificed their weekend to pack the nearly 2,500 backpacks behind him, packing them based on school supply lists for each student's school and grade level.

The backpacks went to students from several school districts, programs and sites within Washington County including the American Christian School, Bartlesville, Bowring, Caney Valley, Copan, Dewey, Headstart, Osage Hills, St. John's and Wesleyan — students who had been signed up during the summer to receive the help.

According to WCSSD President Melinda Wesneski, this year more than 2,495 bags are going to students in need, and all that to a budget of $50,000 — the funding supplied by businesses, churches, individuals and a number of fundraisers.

She told 2NEWS the reason for the drive is to fight poverty.

"I feel like that by giving them supplies of school, you get them excited for school. Anything that might help them stay in school helps because education is the route out of poverty," Wesneski said. "You don't don't get out of poverty unless you have a good education."

She added that in the current times of economic difficulties and budget cuts, school is becoming increasing less free.

"Without supplies, kids really can't learn," she said.

It's also to help the teachers who often find themselves spending their own money to help supply their students.

"We do it for the teachers too who don't have that kind of money."

For more information on the Washington County School Supply Drive, visit the website by clicking here . Those who would like to help the program can send their contributions to: WCSSD; P.O. Box 2013; Bartlesville, OK 74005-2031.

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