Date: December 3, 2009
Christmas is a time for giving so why not consider helping a whole classroom of kids with a single gift? That’s exactly what the School Supplies Drive, sponsored by the Socrates AfterSchool Project, Benton Spirit Community Newspaper and Building Excellence in Science & Technology (BEST), hopes you’ll consider this holiday season. The drive’s goal is to provide local schools, organizations, parents and students with needed materials during these hard financial times. The drive was launched in November and donations will be accepted through the end of the 2009–2010 school year.
Ruth Murdoch Elementary School is one such entity requesting donations for its students and classrooms. Their needs are for LCD projectors, document cameras and a tutor for a sixth-grade student. Other schools’ needs include copy and notebook paper, art supplies, clothing, textbooks and cleaning supplies. A complete list of schools, contact info and needs lists can be found on the Benton Spirit website: www.bentonspiritnews.com.
“Our hope is to have this snowball into community-wide participation of individuals, churches, nonprofits and businesses,” said Desmond Murray, director of the Socrates AfterSchool Project and an editor for the Benton Spirit. “Giving back is the best Thanksgiving.”
Donors can contact the sites directly to inquire what items are needed and to contribute materials. Contributors are also encouraged to contact the Socrates Project at firstname.lastname@example.org to notify them of their donation so their names can be published in the Benton Spirit to encourage others to give.
“Right now, the economy is bad and I’ve heard and spoken to teachers who have actually had to go into their own pockets to purchase school supplies,” said Murray. “This impact on the economy impacts teachers, kids and their parents.”
The school supplies drive is part of the three organizations’ collaborative Campaign for Excellence, an initiative to improve the educational level within the community. The campaign was intentionally launched in November to coincide with annual local, state and national elections in order to emphasize that change, including educational change, comes “by the people.”
The Socrates project is based at Andrews University and run by Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry professor Desmond Murray. Murray is also the founder of BEST, a program that focuses on giving youth an early introduction to science and technology research.
-Written by Kristina Penny, student news writer, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication