NORTH ROYALTON – School’s out for the summer, but the city and schools are already collaborating to ensure that students have the basic supplies they need when class resumes next month.

Why? Well, because North Royalton Cares.

Since 2010 the North Royalton Office on Aging, the school family and Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw, who was a school board member at the time, have partnered as part of Operation North Royalton Cares, a brainchild of Langshaw’s, to ensure students are properly equipped for class.

It’s already that time again. A kick-off event has already been planned for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. July 15 at The 3 Spot, 13855 Ridge Road. The entire community is invited to come and enjoy a sampling of light appetizers served on the house. The only catch is that everyone who attends bring at least one school supply donation for kids in need.

The supply wish list includes backpacks, folders, pencils, markers, glue/glue sticks, highlighters, headphones (no earbuds), USB flash drives, wide-ruled paper, pens, rulers, protractors, colored pencils, tissue boxes, wide-ruled notebooks, crayons, scissors, calculators, index cards, three-ring binders, red pens, Sharpie markers and hand sanitizer.

Gift cards are great too, because if there’s a specific thing a student or family needs, the Office on Aging, run by Judy Willey, can shop for exactly what is needed. Gift cards of $10 or more for stores like Office Max, Staples, Walmart, Target, Giant Eagle, CVS, Drug Mart, Rite Aid etc. are all greatly appreciated.

School supply donations can be dropped off at St. Albert the Great Church rectory, located at 6667 Wallings Road; the board of education office located at 6579 Royalton Road; the North Royalton Family YMCA located at 11409 State Road; and the Office on Aging located at 13500 Ridge from July 15 through Aug. 2.

Those who wish to donate monetarily can make checks payable to the Charitable Fund of North Royalton Kiwanis. The words “school supplies” should be written in the memo section of the check. Gift cards and monetary donations can be dropped off at the Office on Aging and the board of education office only during that same time frame.

A new participant in terms of collections is the YMCA.

Willey said she hopes their participation helps spread the word and allows the program to touch even more lives.

“So we’re really hoping to get people from all over to donate supplies. We’re hoping that we’re able to match or even do more than we did last year,” she said.

Last year, the program helped 38 families, a total of 93 students, in need and provided a total of $1,100 in vouchers from the Salvation Army.

Parents, and their kids especially, are always very appreciative and grateful for the items they receive.

“When the parents come to pick up the supplies, often times the kids come in with them, so we get to talk first hand with the kids about what their needs are, and we get to hear how appreciative they are about the school supplies. It enables them, especially the younger kids, to feel like they are on an equal plane with other kids starting school off,” Willey explained.

North Royalton families in need of school supplies for their children this year can contact the Office on Aging to sign up for the program beginning July 22 through Aug. 2. School begins Aug. 21.

To qualify families must meet the 2013 income guidelines. According to these guidelines, a one-person household must have a gross annual income of $22,340 or less to qualify; a two-person household $30,260; a three-person household $38,180 or less; a four-person household $46,100 or less; a five-person household $54,020 or less and an income of $61,940 for a household of six.

Proof of North Royalton residency is required. A current utility bill suffices. Some type of photo identification is also needed.

The Office on Aging will also ask for the students’ school and grade level because supplies are packaged accordingly.

Donations will be distributed to families from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 15 and 16 at the Office on Aging.

Langshaw, who’s still heavily involved, said it’s just a worthy cause that everyone should consider giving to as a way to help those parents struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s great to be able to help those in our community in need, especially our youngest members of the community. It’s hard when you are going through a tough time, especially with a young child, to make ends meet, and it’s great that we can help ease the burden. One of the most hurtful times for parents and families is at the beginning of the school year. But by helping provide the most basic of needs, we are helping them start the school year off right,” Langshaw said.

For more information, contact Willey or Debra Burrows at 440-582-6333 or Langshaw at 440-785-4240.

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