Program gathers school supplies

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 10, 2002

All children need school supplies for the new school year.

Sometimes, though, parents can't afford all they need. To help those families, the Salvation Army and the Oak Park Mall have set up Caring Trees.

Pat Wright, of the Salvation Army, explains the trees in the mall have cards indicating the sex, grade and school of the students in need. Someone interested in helping a child can take the card, get a list of supplies that corresponds with the card from the information table by the trees, purchase the supplies and leave the bag at the display. Monetary donations are also accepted.

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This year, 85 families are in need of assistance and Wright estimates each family has an average of three children. Usually, the amount of school supplies for each child is approximately $35, she says.

"In the past it's always been very successful and it's totally because of the people of Austin. We're having a slow time of it this year, though," she says. "I was at the mall earlier this week and the trees are just loaded."

As a result, she plans on leaving the trees up an extra day. The Caring Trees were supposed to be taken down Monday, but Wright says she plans on leaving them up until the end of Tuesday.

The school supplies will be handed out Aug. 27 and 28. "We'll service as many families as we can with the extra supplies until we run out," Wright says.

For more information about back to school preparations, click on 'Living.'

Amanda L. Rohde can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at