Clubs help needy kids buy school supplies

Published 9:12 am Saturday, September 5, 2009

FRANKLIN—Pens, papers, pencils, books. Sundries for health, clothes for good looks.

All of these items were filling shopping carts at the Franklin Wal-Mart on Thursday for several S.P. Morton Elementary School pupils during the annual shopping spree known as the Bright Beginnings Back to School Program.

Thanks to a $2,000 donation by the Franklin Rotary Club to Bright Beginnings, volunteers were paired up with 20 S.P. Morton students and helped them shop for their supplies for the new school year.

This year marks the 12th year for the Bright Beginnings Back to School Program, which the Rotary Club has contributed to for at least the past nine years.

Volunteers included members of the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA Leaders Club, the Franklin Rotary Club, the S.P. Morton PTA, school officials — including Division Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rich Belle and S.P. Morton Principal Don Spengeman — and some students from Franklin High School.

The Franklin Wal-Mart had three registers open for the group afterward.

“We pick 20 children that we think might be in need with their school clothing and school supplies,” Spengeman, who is also a member of the Rotary Club, said.

Parents who give their permission are also asked to include their child’s clothing and shoe sizes and to mark off any items that they may have already purchased, such as a book bag.

“This helps give them a good start for the year,” Spengeman added.

Roger Lee II, the YMCA’s director of sports and recreation, helped 8-year-old Tyrese Earley, a third-grader at S.P. Morton, shop for his back-to-school items.

“We got three pairs of pants, shirts for P.E., a sweater, a jacket, a pair of sneakers, socks, underwear, everything he needs,” Lee said as Tyrese stood next to him, smiling. “Tyrese is excited. He likes getting all these new clothes and stuff. He picked out everything he wanted here. He’s going to be looking good.”

Meanwhile, Trystyn Cousin of the Leaders Club was trying to help 11-year-old Quadre Woodson, a rising fifth-grader at S.P. Morton, find some clothes.

“It’s kind of awkward trying to find clothes for a younger person,” Cousin chuckled. “I don’t know what they like.”