School supplies available for children from low-income families

At least one family plans to arrive early to Saturday's back-to-school fair to ensure its children receive free school supplies.

That's the call that Elizabeth Dorway, who will be at the fair for low-income families, said her husband received last week.

The parents were worried that the school supplies would run out before they arrived, she said.

"We're just crossing our fingers we have enough," said Dorway, a member of The Dialogue to End Childhood Hunger & Homelessness coalition and a social work student at the University of Nevada, Reno. "We are still taking donations if anyone wants to bring anything."

For families on a tight budget, school supplies may mean their children go without. When totaled, a supplies list can reach upward of $200.

"Oftentimes, families do not bring in enough to buy school supplies," Dorway said. "For a family that's working paycheck to paycheck and barely able to keep a roof over their head, $200 can really hurt."

Free paper, pens, pencils, folders, backpacks, shoes and clothing will be provided. Parents do not need to show proof they are low-income, nor do they need to provide their names.

"If someone shows up, we're going to assume they have needs," Dorway said.

Several local agencies will be at the fair, scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon. Included are the Ron Wood Family Resource Center, Computer Corps and the Carson city Health Department, which will give free childhood immunizations.

"Everything they need for school entry will be provided," said Christi Smith, immunization coordinator for the health department.

For kindergartners starting in the Carson City School District, those shots are tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis A and B and chickenpox. Parents should bring their children's immunization records.

"If they don't have their records, we'll have to start the whole series over," Smith said.

The back-to-school fair is the first organized by the coalition and the school district.

"It was probably the late spring when one of the committee members thought a way to engage the community was to have a back-to-school community fair," Dorway said.

"Initially, the vision was that it would be a little bit more entertainment oriented. As we realized we only had a few months to plan, we scaled it down to just wanting to provide school supplies for kids in low-income families."

Businesses like Colonial Bank, Platinum Salon and Wal-Mart have helped with donations.

"Basically, what we need now are backpacks and shoes, just for kids, any size," Dorway said.

"We have no way of knowing if we'll have enough stuff. We can always use more."

Any surplus will be given to the school district. To join the coalition, call Alan Dorway at 882-1032. The next meeting is 4:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the First Presbyterian Church, the corner of Division and West Musser streets.

"The fair is definitely taking on a life of its own," Elizabeth Dorway said.

"It definitely is what we had hoped for. Since this is the first year, we know there are going to be some glitches. If it's a success, we're going to do it again next year."

n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at or 881-1219.

If you go

What: A back-to-school fair that will provide backpacks, school supplies, shoes and clothes

Where: Mills Park pavilion, off the Saliman Road entrance

When: 9 a.m.-noon Saturday

Information: Alan Dorway at 882-1032.


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