Alamance-Burlington School System social workers and families in need can come pick up school supplies and hygiene products before school starts next week. All of the items were donated through the sixth annual Classroom Collection Campaign hosted in conjunction with ABSS and the Alamance Chamber. 

Backpacks, binders, pencils, calculators, deodorant and shampoo are just a few of the 25,000 individual items donated when the drive ended on Aug. 8. More than half the students in ABSS schools receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch. Last year, the supplies collected during this drive were used by 3,000 families. 

ABSS Lead Social Worker Kim Yarborough said when students have the supplies they need, they will be successful. 

“So when the child walks through that door, part of feeling like you belong to that school is being prepared. Coming in with your items ready to go where you don’t have to borrow from a neighbor, that you have your own things,” Yarborough said. 

Volunteers spent last week sorting through the donations and arranged them in a supply closet at Sellars-Gunn Education Center. Yarborough said there are plenty of pens, pencils, glue sticks and spiral notebooks. Scissors, composition books and backpacks go quickly for high school students. Yarborough saids the school system always needs earbuds and flash drives, especially for high school students who often do school work on their computers. 

The next step is for social workers and families to come to the closet and pick up what they need. Yarborough said this process can be emotional for families and is kept confidential. 

“We want to make sure that we appreciate the dignity and worth of students and families,” Yarborough said. “We make sure these supplies are given in a discrete way so that no child feels bad about having to ask for school supplies from a school social worker.”

She said families who use these supplies are appreciative. Once, a family wrote her a thank you note after she gave them some of the donated items.

“I mean it warms my heart. It truly, truly does because, again, our goal as school social workers is to make sure what we are supporting and being that liaison and providing families for the resources that they need,” Yarborough said.

The supplies were donated at public drop sites at more than 20 businesses throughout the county. Plus, employers had internal drives among their employees to collect donations. 

President and CEO of the Alamance Chamber Reagan Gural said this drive strengthens the relationship between schools and businesses. 

“Our schools are teaching our upcoming workforce. And so for the business community, it is very important that we are ensuring that our children are prepared for the workplace or prepared for their next step after high school,” Gural said. 

The response from the business community about the drive has been positive, according to Gural.

Families who need school supplies can connect with their school social worker for more information. The campaign is still accepting monetary donations. That money will be used to buy whatever supplies weren’t donated during the drive.