Salvation Army to hold back-to-school assistance

ALPENA – Families in financial hardship may apply for back-to-school supplies at the Salvation Army Administration and Assistance Office Aug. 25-29 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Salvation Army of Alpena County will provide the supplies to all families who qualify at the 150 percent federal poverty income level.

Kathy Ceci, client advocate for the Salvation Army, said the 150 percent federal poverty income is a part of the 2014 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines determined by the government according to family size.

“For families of four, they must gross $2,900 or less per month,” she said.

In order to apply parents will need to list their name, address, any children’s names, ages, schools attended and what grades the students are in. Parents also will need to show a photo ID and proof of having children in the home.

“They can show medical cards, school papers or school schedules. Lots of times DHS paperwork is shown and that lists household members for food stamps,” Ceci said.

The backpacks will be distributed the same day as parents apply with a short turn around after the application is reviewed for completeness.

“We will review it to make sure we have all of the requirements,” Ceci said.

Backpacks will be organized by grade school, junior high and high school and will have notebooks, pens pencils. Grade school bags also will include items such as crayons and gluesticks while three-ring binders will be in the junior high and high school backpacks.

“Two years ago we gave 179 backpacks and last year we reached 282 which was fantastic. We are prepared to do 300 this year,” Ceci said.

Of the 179 backpacks last year there was one fun story that Ceci recalled.

“It’s especially fun for the little ones. A little girl in second grade who had never had a backpack before just couldn’t make up her mind as to which she wanted. She couldn’t decide between the purple or pink (backpack) and kept turning to her mother,” she said.

Ceci said the project has been successful in part due to the Salvation Army which provides the backpacks and many of the supplies, but that area donors play a significant role.

Donations have been given since school supplies first arrived on the shelves of local stores.

“We had a couple of donors coming in with school supplies the moment they hit the shelf in the middle of July,” Ceci said.

Monetary donations also have played a role.

“We have some very, very good contributors in the community who either bring in supplies or offer cash donations. We have several people who feel very strongly about this,” she said.

On behalf of the Salvation Army, Ceci expressed gratitude.

“We would like to thank everyone who has donated supplies or made monetary donations to make this possible,” Ceci said.

Paige Edwards can be reached via email at ptrisko@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Paige on Twitter @pt_alpenanews.