School year also provides chance to help others

We are using this space today to make a request that you may not have expected to see until, say, early November.

Each year, usually as the days grow cold and the Thanksgiving holiday nears, we ask that community residents remember to help those in need during those upcoming holidays.

Well, we’re early this year, but with very good intentions. Let us all remember that the start of a new school year is fast approaching and with it, the need to help area students get off to a good start.

Many area school districts are offering back-to-school events, where students and parents, as well as teachers and administrators, can come together for a few hours before school officially begins, and enjoy greeting each other again, or perhaps making new friends. It’s a chance for our youngsters to refamiliarize themselves with schoolmates, teachers and classrooms. Many of these events also provide free school supplies.

Recently, organizers of Energy Express held a distribution of school supplies at Tomlinson Run State Park for students in Hancock County. Stacks of notebooks, pencils, glue bottles and much more were available for any student who needed them.

Various businesses and community organizations in our area have events of their own planned, proving backpacks full of supplies.

In some cases, even the schools will get involved if they know there are students in great need.

In addition, this year the Urban Mission Ministries at 301 N. Fifth St. in Steubenville, which traditionally has held its own back-to-school bash, is taking on an expanded role to host the Steubenville area schools’ bash that in past years has unfolded at Harding Stadium.

This year, the event that will encompass Steubenville City Schools and the surrounding areas, will be held in the vicinity of the mission between North Fifth and Sixth streets from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 14.

The Back-To-School Bash is being sponsored by the mission’s Neighborhood Community Development Center, with assistance from community donors. The event will feature a block party atmosphere complete with food provided by National Cash Advance, fun and games, music by a disc jockey, school supplies and backpacks.

A key contributor to making the bash successful is Huntington Bank, which is providing bookbags.

We ask that anyone who can, donate school supplies, cash for supplies or even give of their time to organize one of these events. So many students are in need of the proper pencils, paper and notebooks to get their year off to a great start, and that can only happen if there are enough donations.

The bash is expected to attract anywhere from 800 to 1,000 area students in grades kindergarten through 12th, and school supplies in particular demand include colored pencils, looseleaf paper, scissors and children’s writing tablets. These items can be dropped off at the mission by Aug. 11.

So we’re asking again, and early, to give. The value and strength that our area volunteers contribute to our communities is invaluable. Yes, it’s early August, and we’re asking for donations, but instead of hats, scarves, mittens and warm coats, now it’s rulers, crayons, notebooks and pencils that are in demand. Please give if you can.