Many fresh and smiling faces showed up at our educational attendance centers on Thursday, the first day of school for Peabody-Burns students. The beginning of a new school year is a banner day for students everywhere. As old as I am, I can still remember the excitement and anticipation of that first day in a new classroom. As a mom, I remember hoping our girls’ first days left them eager for the new school year.
I have to say I think things are a bit harder now for many of our youngsters. I am not often in either of our school buildings, but I see many children downtown, at community events, in our parks, and just out and about. I am aware that many of them do not have proper fitting shoes or clothing. I expect that several could use, but do not get, eyeglasses or dental care. Products necessary for personal hygiene can go by the wayside when parents are struggling to pay utility bills, keep food on the table, or find gas money to get to work and back.
I try not to judge the parents — or the grandparents or guardians. I do not walk in their shoes. I do not have the life dramas they have. However, it is sad to know there are probably children in our communities who cannot even show up on the first day of school with basic school supplies.
In recent weeks, there have been a couple of community events to help provide school supplies to students in our district. Peabody United Methodist Church was host to a family back-to-school event at Peabody City Park two Saturdays ago. The event was noted in church communications and on social media pages. A free family swimming party at the city pool and a picnic supper at the park with admission a donation of school supplies drew fewer participants than anticipated and fewer contributions than past years.
Similarly, the Peabody American Legion Auxiliary sponsored an afternoon of family back-to-school bingo this past Saturday at the Legion Hall to raise money for school supplies and provide an event for parents and children. Again the event was noted in this newspaper, on social media, and advertised on signs downtown. A dozen Auxiliary members and a Hillsboro couple affiliated with that American Legion showed up to play. Members brought sacks of school supplies and some nice prizes for bingo winners. Everyone had a good time and additional funds were raised on bingo card rental to purchase even more school supplies.
I was assigned the task of delivering the supplies to Peabody-Burns Elementary School Monday morning. Never having participated in anything like this before, I was not quite sure what to expect. Our donations were a bit lopsided — heavy on spiral notebooks and crayons and thin in the backpack area. However, everyone seemed pleased to accept what was offered.
I found out that there actually is an account for the “School Supply Cabinet.” That is the cabinet where teachers can go all year to get additional supplies for their students when the need arises. I expect the district would accept checks or donations to that account all year long. The beginning of the school year certainly accentuates the need, but it does not end just because our students move beyond that first push in August.
Please know that what you contribute can help a child. Supplies from the cabinet will help him fit in — he will be just another kid in his class. Even small donations mean he has pencils, glue sticks, and notebooks just like his classmates. You can do a great deal for our students with just a small donation. Send it to the School Supply Account in care of USD 398 Central Office, 506 N. Elm St., Peabody KS 66866.
If we all make a contribution a couple of times a year, we will make a difference. Our students will reap the benefits. Thank you for making the effort.