When browsing the back-to-school section in coming weeks, Catholic Charities encourages shoppers to pick up a few additional spiral notebooks for $1.49 each, grab a spare three-pack of glue sticks for around $3.29, or even toss in an extra Spiderman backpack that will run about $10.99.
These items can go a long way in supporting one of the 6,067 children experiencing homelessness and crippling poverty that are served by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver. On Aug. 5, they will host a daylong School Supply Drive where donors can drive through and drop off donations in the parking lot of their main office at 4045 Pecos St.
“You don’t have to spend a big dollar amount to have an impact,” explained Cheryl Talley, event coordinator, and organizer of the drive. “Small donations are much appreciated and will go directly to those we serve.”
Talley, while working as a volunteer at Charities’ Samaritan House homeless shelter for four years, saw firsthand how children can struggle when preparing for school.
“On the first day of school I would see kids scrounging around for a pencil,” she said. “It broke my heart.”
When they did have supplies, some were embarrassed when they had to carry them in an old plastic bag versus a backpack, she added.
“They don’t have a place to live, much less a backpack … (but) they don’t want to be different,” she said. “Having school supplies goes a long way for their self-esteem. It gets them excited about the school year … and that’s their future. Education is what’s going to get them out of the cycle of poverty.”
Children served by Charities receive food, shelter, educational and other resources from various ministries including foster care, kinship care (families raising children of relatives), early childhood education, immigration services, and four homeless shelters: Samaritan House and Father Ed Judy House in Denver, The Mission Shelter in Fort Collins and Guadalupe Shelter in Greeley.
“(Before I volunteered) I didn’t realize there were children and babies at Samaritan House,” Talley said. “The children were the ones that could be forgotten.”
There are generally between 30 to 60 children living there at any given time, she said, of the total 300 residents.
Catholic Charities’ employees and volunteers will be on-hand from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accept donations during the School Supply Drive. They will also be serving hot dogs and refreshments.
“We invite people to bring anything and everything,” Talley said. “Whatever they are comfortable with.”
Supplies needed include backpacks, pencils, pens, highlighters, folders, water bottles, insulated lunch bags, rulers, scissors, three-ring binders and flash drives, among many other things. For a complete list, visit www.ccdenver.org/news/events/25.
Catholic Charities’ School Supply Drive
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 5
Where: 4045 Pecos St., Denver
What: Drop off school supply donations
Questions: 720-377-1385 or CTalley@ccdenver.org
BY THE NUMBERS
Average back-to-school spending by grade
|Elementary||Middle school/junior high||High school|
|Clothing and accessories||$204.76||$234.13||$232.01|
|School supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks, lunchboxes||$95.63||$100.81||$96.85|
|Electronics such as home computer, laptop, cell phone, tablet||$178.67||$225.66||$229.88|
Source: 2014 Back to School/College survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics