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5:16 PM Wed, Nov. 14th

Program provides backpacks, school supplies to families in need

The Coalition for Compassion and Justice is looking for donations to help provide backpacks and school supplies to families in need.<br>
Courtesy Photo

The Coalition for Compassion and Justice is looking for donations to help provide backpacks and school supplies to families in need.<br> Courtesy Photo

Prescott area parents struggling to pay bills and put food on the table are soon facing the time when they must choose between these household necessities and the supplies their children need to succeed in school. The Coalition for Compassion and Justice's (CCJ) Open Door Program is seeking to help provide another option for low-income families.

On July 27, Open Door will host its 11th annual Fair Start Project, distributing backpacks filled with school supplies to low-income students in grades K-12. The distribution will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Prescott United Methodist Church, 505 West Gurley Street, Prescott. There is no pre-registration, but parents must provide ID for children who are not present at the event. CCJ is excited to have representatives from the Arizona Sundogs on hand to welcome students.

"Being a mother of five children it is difficult when non-food expenses add up, so for me Fair Start is incredible...Open Door is incredible," said Heidi Hart of Prescott. Hart's five kids were part of the 1,129 children who received school supplies at last year's Fair Start Project. Hart is both a client and volunteer at CCJ's Open Door Program.

It costs between $25 and $35 per student for required classroom items, depending upon school grade. For many local low-income families buying school supplies for their children is very difficult or impossible financially. More than 1,000 children are expected to attend this year's Fair Start Project. In order to serve all of these kids in need, Open Door relies on community contributions of funding and school supplies.

Caring citizens can help today by making a financial contribution, donating backpacks and school supplies, or offering their business or house of worship to serve as a collection site for school supplies.

Financial contributions can be made online at yavapaiccj.org or mailed to P.O. Box 1882, Prescott, Ariz., 86302. Please write the check out to CCJ and make sure "Fair Start" is noted with the contribution. Donated school supplies may also be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, July 4 through July 29, at CCJ Open Door at 505 West Gurley Street in Prescott.

Supplies needed include backpacks, spiral notebooks, pocket folders, glue (bottles and sticks), colored markers, colored pencils, #2 pencils, pens (blue, black and red), rulers, erasers, water color paints, highlighters, crayons, scissors, binder paper (wide and college rule), pencil sharpeners, dry-erase markers, 3-ring binders and dividers, pencil bags, tissues, 3X5 index cards, compass and protractor sets, hand sanitizer, copy paper, flash drives and calculators.

The Coalition for Compassion and Justice (CCJ) is a poverty-relief nonprofit serving Yavapai County, whose mission is to provide vital services, education and advocacy for those living in poverty, leading to self-sufficiency and a fair and just community for all. For more information about CCJ, please visit www.yavapaiccj.org.

Please help us support our local school kids to ensure that they have a vibrant future! For further information or to get involved with Fair Start, please call CCJ Open Door at 928-776-0353 or contact Diane Iverson at directoropendoor@gmail.com.