Ada County kids receive free school supplies

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Volunteers are packing up boxes with school supplies, which then will be delivered to North Junior High School.

Nearly $80,000 in school supplies are being delivered to Treasure Valley K-8 schools this week. Assistance League of Boise volunteers are sorting, packing and delivering boxes to 95 Ada County schools. Operation School Supplies began in 1986 and it continues to grow every year.

“The students who receive the supplies will get to start the school year fresh,” said Laurel Neilson, chairman of Operation School Supplies. “We work hard all week, but it’s such a feel good project to be a part of.”

Pam Kelch, an Assistance League member, is back for her fourth year packing boxes. The reason she keeps coming back is the importance of education and the need of supplies in the community.

“It’s such a good feeling to give to the students and teachers,” Kelch said. “This really helps build the self-esteem for the kids who can’t afford supplies — it makes them fit in and not be different.”

Schools are surveyed in the spring to projected the needs for the coming school year. The supplies are purchased through Fred Meyer and funded by grants, donations and Thrift Store purchase. More than 85,000 items were purchased this year, which will benefit 12,735 students.

“It’s amazing how many students this affects,” Neilson said.

After the supplies are sent out, the fun part for Kelch is hearing the response from school staff.

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“We get cards from the students and staff, they always say how much the supplies help,” Kelch said.