School supply drive in 13th year 

Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor, with help from several business donors and community volunteers, will sponsor the Assess the Need campaign this summer.

The program provides school supplies for nearly 2,500 needy children in Livingston Parish Public Schools.

This year’s school supply drive marks the 13th year that Taylor has sponsored the Assess the Need program.

Taylor said the program has received monetary donations from several local businesses. The remaining amount of money needed for the program will come from individual donations, he said.

Nearly 100 volunteers will collect donations from contributors who visit the Wal-Mart stores in Denham Springs, Watson and Walker each Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Aug. 3-4 and Aug. 10-11. Donations of cash and supplies will be accepted.

Donations also can be dropped off during regular work hours, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, at the Livingston Parish Assessor’s Office, located in the town of Livingston.

Taylor said Assess the Need volunteers have worked with local principals, counselors and teachers to determine the need for each school. He said the requests for help are up from last year.

He noted that the increased need has typically kept pace with the school district’s overall growth — accounting for about 8 to 10 percent of the school district’s total enrollment. The Livingston Parish School System projects enrolling nearly 25,000 students in the 2013-2014 school year.

“This program has helped so many children in our parish, and in turn, helped our teachers in doing their job,” Taylor said. “Thanks to this program, our students have the supplies from day one, so learning can begin right away.”

“When we give supplies to our students, we’re sending them a strong message that they matter and that we believe in them. That is the most powerful aspect of our program,” Taylor said. “Each year, teachers and counselors tell us stories about students whose attitudes and behaviors change for the better after receiving these supplies.”

Taylor said the Assess the Need program has collected well over half-a-million dollars worth of supplies for Livingston Parish students over the past 12 years.

Taylor said volunteers work with the schools to identify the supplies needed at the different grade levels. He said the list primarily includes basic school supplies, such as notebooks, paper, scissors, glue, crayons, markers, construction paper, pencils, ink pens, rulers, pocket folders and book bags.

Taylor said school principals or their representatives will pick up the supplies at a central collection center before the start of school so that materials can be distributed to the students on the first day.

“It’s important that our students begin the school year on a positive. Doing so can set the tone for their success for the rest of the year,” Taylor said.

Taylor said there is no application process for assistance from the Assess the Need campaign. People needing help should contact their principals or school counselors.