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2 ways you can give back to those in need as back-to-school season begins

Back-to-school supplies
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jul 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-21 16:27:51-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — As summer begins to wind down, it's time for kids to prepare for back to school. Like many other products, the cost of supplies have gone up, and more families are in need of assistance. Here are two ways you can help your community for back to school.

Haven House East Lansing

“Have House is an emergency homeless shelter for families," said volunteer and Project Manager Chequoya Thomas. "Anyone who is looking for shelter with us needs to have legal custody of at least one child, and we work with them to find permanent housing."

Thomas said for 20 years Haven House has offered an Adopt-A-Child program for the families they work with as kids get ready to head back to school.

“It's a way for the kids who are going back to school, ages around 5 and up, who aren't able to get new clothes," Thomas said. "When you think about going back to school, you always think about wanting to have that fresh new look, and when you look good, you feel good.”

Thomas said they have seen an influx of families needing assistance due to inflation in several every day life areas like back to school costs and utility bills on top of trying to get back on their feet.

“With inflation in general, we're seeing that it costs more to be able to provide for the kids for back to school, and the items and how much they cost and what's needed for back to school," Thomas said. "You need everything, you know, the shirts, the pants and all of that and the shoes and everything. So we definitely see an influx either in the kids or just the amount that it's going to cost to be able to provide for them.”

This year, the program has 40 participating kids with several still needing to be adopted.

“We're putting it around $150 per child just to be able to try to get them out a few good outfits and hopefully a good pair of shoes before the school year starts,” Thomas said.

Thomas encourages anyone looking to give back to consider adopting a child. Children still looking to be adopted can be found on the Haven House website.

Sylvan Learning Center Lansing

“Sylvan Learning Center is a tutoring franchise that's a global center," said Executive Director and Owner Jessica Rollins. "We have tutoring programs that start at preschool and go all the way through adulthood, and they're all personalized to each student.”

Rollins said this is the first year they've had a back-to-school donation drive.

“It's called the Sylvan School Supplies Stack-up, and we are locally donating our school supplies to St. Vincent Catholic Charities in the Cristo Rey Community Center,” Rollins said.

But it's not just outside community members who are getting involved.

“When students are here at Sylvan, they can earn tokens for their effort and hard work," Rollins said. "We are allowing students to donate those tokens to add additional school supplies to our drive. So, already through today, we've had students donate $70 worth of school supplies from their very own hard earned tokens and dollars.”

Sylvan Center is asking for any school supplies but have found certain things are needed more than others.

“Things like folders and binders for those upper level, middle school and high school students are items that they tend to run out of quickly," Rollins said. "So if you're really looking for suggestions, folders and binders even note cards for students who are getting ready to prep for tests.”

Right now, Sylvan is collecting items through the month of July, but Rollins said they might extend that through August if more people want to donate.

“If we're seeing K-12 students donating their own, hard-earned tokens, instead of buying that Hot Wheels car, they're donating it to a student in need, we should learn from them and take that life lesson and take advantage of sales,” Rollins said.

Anyone interested in donating supplies can drop them off at Sylvan Learning Center, 2500 Kerry Street. A list of needed items can be found here.

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Mikayla Temple

Mikayla Temple

1:39 PM, Jan 05, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Mikayla Temple

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