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MARBLEHEAD — As students and teachers prepare to go back to school in this new COVID-19 era, local community organizations are standing by to help any way they can. For SPUR, a charity organization based in Marblehead that focuses on projects in the Marblehead, Swampscott, Lynn and Salem areas, the big drive lately has been pushing for backpacks and school supplies during the SPUR Student Success Back-to-School Drive.
The drive, which SPUR holds every year, is especially important this year as students, parents and teachers alike all adjust to a new era of schooling.
“We have a lot of people in our area who are going through tough times, and I think now is as important a time as any to do something like this,” said Bryan Lamoreau, SPUR’s volunteer and event-drive manager. “Our mission is to be here for the community, and we want to show people that we’re here for them in any way we can be.”
During the fundraising drive, SPUR works closely with professionals who are familiar with the children’s and family’s needs; local school counselors, food-pantry directors, social workers and homeless-education liaisons submit requests for children who are faced with the reality of beginning the year without the required supplies needed for school. SPUR volunteers then pack backpacks full of school supplies for the children in need.
In this new era of COVID-19 schooling, with school districts still deciding how much in-person learning to do versus remote learning, the school materials that students need are ever-changing.
“We obviously continue to pack the backpacks with things like pencils, pens and notebooks, but we’ve also had to adjust some of the things we put in there for students because of remote learning,” said Lamoreau. “New this year, every student also gets a set of headphones, a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer in their backpack.”
Lamoreau also noted the importance of collaborating with teachers and their community partners to decide what is best for the drive this year.
“In our talks with elementary school teachers, we learned that we were really in need of dry-erase boards for the kids so they can do their work and show it to the teacher,” said Lamoreau. “So now this year, every child in kindergarten through third grade will get a dry-erase board.”
The fundraiser, which began on Aug. 3, will run through Friday. Those interested in donating can mail a tax-deductible check or go online (https://www.spur.community/student-success-drive) to sponsor a backpack and school supplies. Opportunities will be available to help fill each backpack and write personalized notes to each child when supplies and backpacks are ready.
— Purchase a backpack ($26.07)
— Purchase school supplies ($38.68)
— Purchase a backpack and supplies for a K – 3rd grader ($55.07)
— Purchase a backpack and supplies for a 4th – 6th grader ($62.26)
— Purchase a backpack and supplies for a 7th – 8th grader ($70.02)
— Purchase a backpack and supplies for a 9th – 12th grader ($72.54)
On the horizon, SPUR is planning a collaboration with Sustaining Marblehead in September for a host of beach cleanups in Marblehead, Lynn, Salem and Swampscott.