As need grows, so does effort for supplies

Photo provided by DELIA TAYLOR -- Assess the Need volunteers, from left,   Krysta Watts, Jim Kiker, David Spence and Darryl Whitehead load cars with supplies for students in Livingston Parish schools. Show caption
Photo provided by DELIA TAYLOR -- Assess the Need volunteers, from left, Krysta Watts, Jim Kiker, David Spence and Darryl Whitehead load cars with supplies for students in Livingston Parish schools.

Volunteers with one of the parish’s largest school-supply efforts donated supplies for about 2,500 students in Livingston Parish.

Volunteers with the program Assess the Need made their deliveries to school officials at the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center in Walker. Those donations then were distributed to students on Friday, the first day of school.

“Each year, we have seen kids that are in need,” Denham Springs Freshman High School Principal Ken McGee said. “Some voice their needs and some don’t.”

McGee said the program, started by Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor, helps about 30 students at the freshman high school.

Having the supplies also “has a very positive impact on their schoolwork,” McGee said. “Knowing that the supplies are available allows them to concentrate on academics.”

Representatives from each school drove through the center’s automotive educational center Aug. 7 to pick up supplies for their students.

Taylor said supplies were available for 2,452 students in grades pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. The program received $41,778 in donations. Last year’s program helped less than 2,200 students and the prior year’s count was closer to 2,000 students, with each of the past two campaigns costing nearly $40,000. This year makes 13 years the program has been available.

On Monday, more students and their parents were asking their school counselors about the supplies.

Candy Pope, a school counselor at Doyle Elementary School, said the program is crucial to help more than 30 students at Doyle.

The need, she said, grows each year, and so does the gratitude from the children.

“The smiles on their faces when they receive their supplies … they just light up,” Pope said.

School officials at Doyle also keep gently used uniforms on hand for students who may need them.

Volunteers collected donations and sold plate lunches Aug. 11 to fund the campaign.

Donors can also give online through PayPal at http://www.AssessTheNeed.com, or supplies and money can be dropped off from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the parish Assessor’s Office in the town of Livingston.

“This year’s need is the largest we’ve seen yet,” Taylor said. “That has put a tremendous strain on the program, but we are trusting that our efforts over this next weekend will push us over the top, enabling us to once again pay all our expenses.

“I just would ask the people of Livingston Parish to continue to support our program and the children of this parish,” he said. “We can’t do this without the help of our communities.”

Students received backpacks, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, glue, scissors, construction paper, composition notebooks and computer paper.

Taylor said families who need help with their school supplies for the 2012-13 school year should contact their child’s principal or school counselor.

All supplies are provided based on requests from school administrators, and the distribution of supplies is managed by school leaders.