Back to School!

Children from families that can afford access to educational materials and supplies have a solid advantage over those who don’t. Which is why The Salvation Army works to address that inequality by providing the materials that can give children a leg up. The right supplies can be the tools they need to compete with those who have access and opportunities that many families cannot afford. The Salvation Army takes part in local partnerships to nationwide efforts that encourage communities to give back to those in need.

One of those local partnerships was in Birmingham, Alabama, where The Salvation Army placed a single truck outside of a local Staples. It was part of a small program, where over the course of the weekend customers were encouraged to donate supplies to local children. “Working with a local Staples in the Trussville community was part of our effort to help collect supplies those in need,” says Lori Cork, Public Relations Director for the Birmingham Salvation Army. “Those supplies will go to help serve students in the Birmingham City School District and Jefferson County schools,” she says.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Salvation Army had their 2019 Backpack Giveaway. It was an outdoor event where families could come to receive a backpack stuffed with supplies for their child. “It’s so important for the young people of our city to have school supplies so that they can have success and the tools they need to break the chains of poverty,” says Major Donald Tekautz, Corps Officer of the Baton Rouge Salvation Army. The event placed over 500 backpacks in the hands of young people, all while offering refreshments to those who came to the event.

In Jackson, Mississippi, the annual “Back to School Bash” provided school supplies as well as free health and dental screenings. Attendees were treated with fun and food, with jump houses for the children in attendance and food trucks to serve the party atmosphere. According to Michelle Hartfield, Director of Public Relations for the Jackson Salvation Army, “Successful early childhood education is so important in breaking the cycle of generational poverty. Without the necessary supplies for basic learning, students cannot be expected to thrive. Our goal is to set students up for success as young as possible to carry that success through the rest of their lives.” In the end, they gave out roughly 500 backpacks filled with supplies for local children getting ready for the school year.

Saturday, August 3rd, saw the “Stuff the Bus” event—a national partnership between The Salvation Army and Walmart—in thousands of Walmart stores across the country. Salvation Army volunteers greeted customers with an opportunity to fill a bin with supplies for local students. “There are thousands of children heading back to school soon, and many will need assistance to start the school year off right. By donating school supplies for a child in need, you’re easing the burden parents experience at the start of the school year and helping set the right tone for these kids as they head back to school,” says Major Kent Davis, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division.

The terrible cycle of generational poverty affects far too many low-income families. Which is why The Salvation Army places an emphasis on education as a part of service. With the help of the community, The Salvation Army can continue to help those in need escape the cycle of poverty and set whatever path for themselves they set their minds on.