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11:40 AM Tue, Sept. 25th

Donate school supplies to give children a ‘fair start’

Donations Needed

• Pencils & Pens

• Crayons & Markers

• Erasers & Sharpeners

• Notebooks & Binders

• Scissors & Rulers

• Ruled Binder Paper

• Glue & Glue Sticks

• Copy & Graph Paper

• Pencil Bags & Boxes

• Backpacks & Bookbags

Where to Donate

Between now and July 27, bring donations to:

CCJ Offices

Prescott United Methodist Church

505 W. Gurley St., Prescott

CCJ Thrift Store

1034 Fair St, Prescott

Peregrine Book Company

219 N. Cortez St., Prescott

For more information call, (928) 445-8382

PRESCOTT – Every child deserves a “fair start” when it comes to getting back in school ready to learn.

Yet for some families a theme backpack filled with sharpened pencils, not-yet-worn down crayons, scribble-free notebook paper, still stiff scissors and no-mark erasers is just not in the budget.

Enter the Coalition for Compassion and Justice and a very generous community.

For the last 12 years, CCJ has sponsored its Fair Start project, a back-to-school supply program that enables children from modest to low-income families to enter school as ready as their peers whose parents can afford to supply them with the latest design in backpacks and all new school supplies.

The first year only about 50 families participated in the program. Last year, the program served 1,349 children between kindergarten and 12th grade.

“I think the name of the program, and what it does for kids, are pretty synonymous,” said Diane Iverson, CCJ’s special projects director and organizer of the program that she said grows every year. “We want all kids to have a fair start. We want them to start school on the first day feeling that their backpack is as cool as that of anyone else.”

She and the community donors who make this program possible, whether they are buying a couple backpacks or donating boxes of supplies, recognize that coming to school prepared with all new items is almost as important as knowing you have a friend to sit with at lunch in the school cafeteria.

“We don’t want them to feel like they’re starting the first day of school behind everyone else,” Iverson said.

Donate School Supplies through July 27

Between now and July 27, CCJ will be accepting donations of backpacks and school supplies that range from pencils and markers to calculators, flash drives, index cards, even socks.

On Saturday, July 30, children identified through the schools, local social service agencies, churches and CCJ’s Open Door program will be able to come and pick out a fully loaded backpack designed in their favorite color or with their favorite cartoon or movie character between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Early birds get first pick of the supplies that are distributed until there are no more so there is usually a long line winding around the CCJ offices at Prescott United Methodist Church at 505 W. Gurley St. for that event.

Once families select their backpack, they are sent to another church-related program called, “Shoes From the Shepherd” that entitles them to a gift certificate for a new pair of shoes.

Donations can be dropped off at CCJ offices or at the agency’s thrift store on Fair Street, or at the Peregrine Book Company located at 219 N. Cortez St.

On distribution morning, Iverson said she loves to see the smiles on the faces of the children as they are treated to a gift that not only gives them supplies but a sense of self-worth as they launch another school year.

“These kids are so excited. This gets them ready for the school year in such a positive way,” Iverson said. “It makes them feel good to be outfitted with everything they need, and it makes families feel good about making these donations.”

Just this week, Iverson said she had a couple donate several large boxes of supplies. They shop and collect goods throughout the year as they “enjoy thinking about all the children their generosity will affect,” she said.

For more information about Fair Start or CCJ call, (928) 445-8382, or email Iverson at: diane.iverson@yavapaiccj.org