JAs school supply drive set for Saturday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; People shopping at Wal-Mart Saturday will see a rare sight &8212; a school bus parked in front of the store.

The Junior Auxilary of Natchez will hold their annual Operation Back to School, collecting school supplies for children in need, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The supplies donated are distributed among schools for children whose parents cannot afford the supplies they need.

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&8220;We work closely with children and schools in the area,&8221; Joanna Brumfield with the Junior Auxilary said Tuesday. &8220;We&8217;ve found &8230; students would come to school without backpacks and pencils, things they need.&8221;

People can bring supplies or donate supplies they buy at Wal-Mart. The goal is to make the bus as full as possible, Brumfield said.

Supply lists from each school will be posted outside the bus Saturday so donors can see what&8217;s needed.

&8220;Each school requires children to bring different items,&8221; Trish Stoll, chair of the JA&8217;s Operation Back to School Committee said. &8220;After it&8217;s all over, we pick an evening and separate the items depending on what&8217;s on each list. For example, pre-kindergarten and kindergarteners use mats and things first graders wouldn&8217;t use.&8221;

Last year, the organization filled half the bus, Stoll said, and it turned out the pencils and notebooks were needed even more than usual.

&8220;We had an influx of students from Hurricane Katrina, so it was good to have the extra supplies,&8221; she said.

Stoll said the organization would take any supplies people could donate.

&8220;I have seen parents walk in with several children, so you know they had a lot to buy, but they would still donate a pack of paper or crayons,&8221; she said.