Volunteers buy all supplies for students at Springfield elementary school

Every student at Fulton Elementary School will begin the year with all of their school supplies thanks to an adopt-a-desk drive.

Fulton Elementary Principal Deborah Howard came up with the idea of allowing area residents to “adopt a desk,” at the elementary school.

“So many people want to donate items like pencils, or notebooks, but then sometimes you are left with an excess of something and nothing of another,” Howard said. “So I came up with an idea to allow my Facebook friends to adopt a student’s desk, meaning they could purchase a student’s school supplies list.”

Howard said she expected a couple people to volunteer, but the drive quickly took off.

Back-to-school: Clark Co. students' school supply lists

“The next thing I knew I had people wanting to buy-out complete classrooms,” Howard said.

After a couple of days, all of the students at the elementary school — which has an enrollment of over 500 —had been adopted. The organization, Akbar Court #33, chose to adopt the entire 2nd grade at Fulton.

“We wanted to give these kids and parents a backbone for success. We wanted to take the pressure off of these parents,” said Akbar member, Deborah Freeman. “It’s a joy to be able to help. The true purpose of these kids being here is to learn and we want to give them everything we can to help them.”

My Church, located at 334 S. Plum St. in Springfield, adopted the 3rd grade —but that’s not all.

“We are also adopting the teachers,” said church member Corina Bowen. “So anything these 3rd grade teachers need we will be there to help them out.”

Bowen said the church spent nearly $1,000 on school supplies for the grade, including backpacks, desk name tags and more.

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According to the National Retail Foundation, parents across the country will spend $26.5 billion this year on K-12 back-to-school necessities like school supplies, clothes, backpacks, lunch boxes and more. That comes out to an average of almost $700 per kid.

“These things can add up quickly,” Howard said. “If your child needs clothes, shoes, notebooks, pencils, tissues, it can get up there very quickly.”

Howard said she never imagined the drive would be so successful, she said her only goal was to try to help students begin the year on the right foot.

“We wanted to remove every obstacle for getting kids here on the first day of school,” said Howard. “If we can get them here, and get them excited about school, that’s the first step.”

The first day of classes for the Springfield City School District is Wednesday.

In the days leading up to the start of the 2019-2020 school year, the Springfield News-Sun will be providing back to school news, including funding and policy changes, within Clark and Champaign County school district.

Facts & Figures:

500+: Students attending Fulton Elementary School

$1,000+: Spent by one Springfield church on supplies for 3rd grade students

$26.5B: This year will be spent on K-12 back-to-school necessities like school supplies, clothes and more

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