Outreach Project seeks school supplies

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Items to benefit neglected, abused children in county

By Jesef Williams

Your effort can help ensure that dozens of local students start the upcoming school year on the right foot.

Lancaster County Outreach Project, which works with Department of Social Services, is sponsoring a school supplies drive to benefit neglected and abused children in the area.

This is the fifth year the Outreach Project has sponsored the effort.

Donna Bender, the agency’s director, asked DSS caseworkers in June to identify children who will need supplies.

Earlier this week, the list of targeted children was at 110 – a number Bender said continues to grow.

The students range from 4-year-old kindergartners to college-age. Though student need will vary because of grade level, general items sought include pencils, pens, crayons, loose-leaf paper and notebooks. Book bags are also needed.

The items may not be that expensive, but there are families in Lancaster County who likely won’t be providing those supplies for their children, whether it’s because of neglect or financial limitations.

“All that little stuff adds up,” Bender said, reflecting on the importance of the school supplies.

When supplies come in to the local DSS office, they will be sorted and grouped based on age level. The aim is to begin distributing the supplies to children before school begins. 

The effort, though, will likely run through September, Bender said.

“These supplies are very important,” she said. “Imagine a child going to school with no supplies. If they don’t start off on the right foot, how can they further themselves?”

She said United Way of Lancaster County and Communities in Schools are among the chief supporters.

“Those two organizations have probably given us the greatest amount of things,” Bender said.

If you want to donate school supplies for the Outreach Project’s drive, drop them off during regular business hours at Lancaster County Department of Social Services, 1837 Pageland Highway. For more information, call Bender at (803) 289-4438.


Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152