Lined paper, colored pencils, glue sticks, and neon highlighters overflow boxes after two weeks of collecting school supply donations for the Transylvania County Sharing House. TVS held a “Tools 4 School” donation drive and donated an amazing 885 school supply items to assist local students with getting back into the classrooms!
“TVS has been trying to support many local organizations since starting our donation drives. We figured this we would be a great time to incorporate the schools,” said TVS Benefits and Recruitment Specialist Catherine Tinsley. “This year and last has been very difficult for many families in Transylvania County and we wanted to make sure that the kids had everything they needed to have a successful school year.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, TVS decided to offer more donation events within the company to help provide extra resources to other local services aiding the community. Previous local donations include food and clothing to the Life Changers Outreach in Pisgah Forest and pet needs to the Transylvania County Animal Shelter.
The school supply donation is currently the largest donation in recent TVS history, edging out the canned food drive by almost 100 items. “It really amazes me each time we do a donation drive here at TVS, our employees pull together for a great cause,” said Tinsley. “I am so excited to know that we are going to help many children and teens across the county!”
For over 20 years the local Sharing House has been providing free school supplies for any school-aged child (K-12) in a Transylvania County School. On average around 500 children receive supplies through this program. So far this year, 425 kids have already filled backpacks with supplies and the Sharing House is expecting more before the Back to School supply drive ends.
Last year the Sharing House saw a decline in students due to the COVID-19 pandemic having students learning in home classrooms.
COVID has affected the Sharing House in different ways. “This meant a huge amount to us because of the pandemic and the way life is right now, we have not seen the same amount of donations that we are used to,” said Sharing House Special Projects Coordinator Lynn Traub. “With this donation we now have the freedom to continue giving out all the supplies that students need.”
The pandemic also affected how the Sharing House hands out the backpacks. For most of this year (and prior to the pandemic), families were able to come into the building and pick out all the supplies. Now, with a rise in new cases, the Sharing House allows children to choose their backpacks, but they instead have personnel fill it with the required items before bringing the backpack out to the car.
Along with the school supplies all children have been receiving a new pair of shoes, socks, and underwear to start the year. This part of the program started 3 years ago thanks to local donations.
To take part and receive school supplies, you do not have to be signed up with the Sharing House. Appointments can be made by calling (828) 884-2866 ext. 111 and talking with Lynn Traub. However, they will accommodate walk-ins to the best of their abilities and availability. Friday, Aug 13 was the last day to receive new shoes, socks, and underwear with the school items.
The school supply drive will stay open until Friday, August 20 to assist with any last-minute needs. You can learn more about the Sharing House at https://www.sharinghouse.org/