Many Families Won't Need To Buy School Supplies - - The News for South Mississippi

Many Families Won't Need To Buy School Supplies

Magnolia Park Elementary teacher Melanie Howell unwrapped another gift Monday morning.

"We usually don't use notebooks," Howell said. "But I am going to use them this year for journals, since they were donated. It was amazing. I mean, it was like Christmas, and you didn't have to pay for it."

The notebooks and everything on her students' desks came from generous people, businesses, and churches nationwide who heard about Hurricane Katrina, and wanted to help the kids.

"We have the scissors, crayons, glue and pencils," said Howell. "It was amazing! The donations were non-stop. Coming in constantly, and they were giving it to us to give to the children."

With the storage room overflowing with contributions, the district will be able to provide free supplies to every elementary and middle school student.

"We wanted to make sure that this is one thing that they didn't have to worry about this year, buying school supplies," said Dr. Edna Waller, Ocean Springs School Relations Director. "We know that can be expensive for parents. We had a lot of parents telling us 'thank you', because it was going to be difficult for them this year."

So when the bell rings this Friday, every child will get a gift when they open their school supplies box.

"It makes me feel good, because they'll all be equal," said Howell. "They'll be excited to meet their teachers and see their classrooms. But they'll also be excited to see they don't have to worry. It's all here for them."

The Ocean Springs School District is also using about $20,000 in donations and grant money from the Child Hope Foundation to buy the supplies it does not have in storage.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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