Supplying kids with love

Operation NR Cares shows families it cares by making sure students have the back-to-school items they need to start the school year.

NORTH ROYALTON – It’s no secret; North Royalton cares, especially for its youngest residents.

That loyalty and compassion will undoubtedly shine through for all to see when the city’s office on aging, in conjunction with the North Royalton School District and the North Royalton Family YMCA, begins its annual Operation NR Cares back-to-school program.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. July 27 at the program’s kick off at The 3 Spot located at 13855 Ridge Road, residents can start bringing in school supplies that will be donated to families struggling to make ends meet. The entire community is invited to come enjoy a sampling of light appetizers served on the house at the event hosted until 6:30 p.m. Everyone who attends is asked to bring at least three school supply donations.

From July 27 through Aug. 7, residents can drop off supplies in convenient collection bins located throughout town. School will be back in session Aug. 19.

Supplies in urgent need include: backpacks, wide-ruled notebooks and paper, dry-erase markers and erasers, red pens, USB flash drives, TI-100 calculators and gift cards in any amount to stores like Target, Walmart, Giant Eagle, CVS, Drug Mart, Office Max, Staples, Rite Aid etc. The suggested amount for gift cards is $10.

The full list of items in need includes, folders with and without pockets, pencils, pencil boxes, markers, glue and glue sticks, highlighters, headphones (no earbuds), black and blue pens, rulers, protractors, colored pencils, tissue boxes, crayons, scissors, calculators, index cards, three-ring binders, washable markers, Sharpie markers and hand sanitizers.

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 during normal hours.

The program complements the city’s Christmas in July event which raises dollars to provide clothing vouchers and gift cards to the students who will be receiving school supplies through the NR Cares Program.

Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw helped create this program when he served on the school board. It’s near and dear to him because it helps families right here in North Royalton.

“It was when I started volunteering several years ago at the North Royalton Food Bank that I saw firsthand how much of a need that their was from meeting those in our community trying to get by on paycheck to paycheck or trying to stretch having enough food after losing their jobs,” he said.

The economy is improving but cuts to federal programs such as the food stamp program has caused the need to intensify, he said. What’s truly inspiring for him is seeing residents who were assisted by the NR Cares Program go on to help others once they get back on their feet.

“A year or so ago, a family that we helped with this program was able to get back on their feet but also donated a bunch of items of their own to pay the kindness the community showed to them in their time of need forward,” Langshaw said. “This program is a success because residents here in North Royalton believe in helping our own community members in need. It’s just another reason why our city is a great place to live.”

Judy Willey, director of the office on aging, agrees.

“As we look at all the current North Royalton graduates who have been awarded scholarships and achievement awards, the North Royalton Cares program was involved in helping many of these students. We are proud that many of the participants have graduated with honors and are now moving on to college. We have met many of these students who come in to receive their school supplies in order to make sure they have the ‘right stuff’ to be successful in school and hence successful in their life. As a city we can be proud that we helped a student become a productive member of our community,” she said.

Residents in need of supplies for their school-age children may apply beginning July 13 and those applications must be received by Aug. 7. To qualify, North Royalton residents must meet the 2015 income guidelines. According to these guidelines, a three-person household must make $39,580 or less; a four-person household $47,700 or less. For each additional person add $8,120.

Proof of North Royalton residency is required, a current utility bill is sufficient. Some form of photo identification is also needed, as is proof of the household income. The office on aging will also ask for the students’ school and grade level because supplies are packaged accordingly.

Superintendent Greg Gurka said this program is much appreciated.

“Our community is extremely supportive in many ways especially when helping out those in need,” he said. “The North Royalton School District deeply appreciates all the help the community gives us. NR Cares is a wonderful way the community helps those in need.”

For more information or a full list of collection bin locations, contact the office on aging at 440-582-6333.

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