Operation Safe Streets hosts school supply giveaway

“Hopefully, it gives them more enthusiasm about going back to school the second semester.” REGINALD BROWN Sr.,   city constable

George Ware Jr., 9, walked out of Cortana Mall on Saturday with a bag full of school supplies to use during the second half of the school year.

George, a third-grader at Villa Del Rey Elementary, said that of all the supplies he received, he likely would use his new notebook most often.

“Our teacher makes us write a lot,” George said.

George and hundreds of other children received notebooks, pencils, folders and other school items as part of a supply giveaway hosted by Operation Safe Streets, a division of the Baton Rouge City Constable’s Office.

The Cortana Mall hosted the giveaway in a showroom across from Hibbett Sports, near Virginia College.

George’s mother, Ashley Ware, said she was thankful for the giveaway.

“It’s very economical,” she said. “It’s saving me money from going to the store.”

Wanda Thomas, a member of Operation Safe Streets and an organizer of the event, said volunteers prepared 400 supply bags for students and 10 bags for teachers.

Volunteers handed out 212 bags to children and five bags to teachers, Thomas said.

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies will donate the remaining bags to schools across the parish.

Operation Safe Streets raised money to buy most of the supplies, Thomas said.

Organizers then went around the parish to gather those supplies, which are hard to locate in January, she said.

“We went to every Wal-Mart from Siegen (Lane) to Baker to Zachary,” Thomas said. “We went everywhere.”

Parents and their children registered with volunteers at a table at the front of the room.

From there, children wandered over to other volunteers handing out bags filled with supplies for different ages of students.

Children attending kindergarten through third grade received supplies such as notebooks, pencils and folders, Thomas said.

Fourth- and fifth-graders were given notebook paper in addition to what younger students collected, Thomas said. High school students received pens and pencils, among other supplies.

Operation Safe Streets wanted to host the giveaway in January to help parents and teachers in the middle of the school year, Thomas said.

“We wanted to try to do something different,” she said.

Ramonica Guillory was happy Operation Safe Streets did just that.

Guillory brought her 7-year-old twin boys, Coby and Coy, and daughter Catera, 13, to the giveaway. The twins are students at Park Ridge Academic Magnet School and Catera goes to Scotlandville Middle Pre-Engineering Academy.

Guillory said the giveaway helped her restock her children’s supplies.

“Mid-term is a time when we need to replenish — especially crayons,” Guillory said, pointing at her boys. “I have two artists.”

City Constable Reginald Brown Sr. greeted the families as they walked out of the room.

Brown asked the children where they went to school and encouraged them to continue their education and stay away from drugs.

“Be good now,” Brown said as one boy walked away.

Brown said the giveaway helps replenish people’s needs for school supplies and instill the importance of education.

“Hopefully, it gives them more enthusiasm about going back to school the second semester,” Brown said.