The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools has invited the community to join this year's School Supply Drive, which runs through July 15.
It's a good program and the Foundation has made a strong argument for participation.
According to a release from the non-profit dedicated to school-based program and initiatives, many students "will not have the tools needed to learn" come fall unless the public steps forward.
It simply comes down to economics and some tough local demographics:
"More than 70 percent of students in Lee County qualify for free or reduced lunch, meaning their families fall below the federal guidelines for poverty," the Foundation reports. "Due to economic challenges, many families find it difficult to provide basic school supplies for their children. This School Supply Drive helps ensure that all Lee County District School students have the tools necessary to succeed in the classroom."
Initial response from the business community has been good, with many signing on to hold drives that invite contributions from the public.
According to the Foundation, most-needed supply items include:
Paper (white copy and loose leaf notebook)
Pens, pencils, markers, highlighters
Folders (2 pocket with prongs, plastic preferred)
Zip top bags (gallon and sandwich size)
Also needed are file cabinets, bookcases, shelves and chairs.
For businesses that would like to take part, there still is time to donate or put out a bin and promote the event to employees, clients and customers. The Foundation even has posters that can help boost that effort.
Businesses interested in helping can call Michelle Avola-Reese at 239-337-0433 or email her at Michelle@LeeSchoolFoundation.org .
Meanwhile, a companion effort also is under way, this one to directly assist classroom instructors.
According to the Foundation, "The School Supply Drive team is also partnering with Edison Mall and Coconut Point Mall, who will be hosting the Apples for Teachers Supply Drive through Aug. 15, to help provide teachers with the supplies/tools needed to be the best educators they can be. A tree at the malls will be covered with ornaments that note teachers' wish list items for their classrooms."
Shoppers can select an ornament, purchase the items requested, and then return the ornament and donations to Guest Services at either mall.
If you can help, we urge you to take part.
Lee County's children, and teachers, will appreciate your generosity.
- Breeze editorial