ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Volunteers at the Baldwin County Catholic Social Services in Robertsdale are busy stuffing backpacks to help students get ready for school through the organization’s Project R.E.A.C.H. program.
Those who need help with supplies began signing up in July and volunteers began handing out supplies on Monday, July 22.
Project REACH, which stands for Resources for Educational Advancement of Children, serves low-income school-age children throughout Baldwin County by providing school supplies and financial assistance of fees.
“We’ll go through next week,” said Baldwin County CSS Director Phyllis Beam, “and if there’s a need we can help even after school starts. All they need to do is call us and we will try to help them.”
The colorful backpacks are stuffed with a variety of supplies, including pens, notebooks, rulers, colored pencils, crayons, binders, scissors, even headphones that students can use with their computers supplied by the schools.
“The only thing we don’t supply is loose paper,” Beam said, “but we have reams of paper that we will be donating in bulk to the schools.”
Supplies are purchased in bulk to keep costs down, Beam said. Anyone wishing to donate to the project can make a monetary donation for the Project R.E.A.C.H. program.
“We generally ask for $25 per student,” Beam said, “but really any amount is helpful.”
Project R.E.A.C.H. is another way Catholic Social Services, with assistance from local churches, provides assistance for Baldwin County students in need.
Every year the organization also provides assistance through its Child Nutrition Program, which provides backpacks filled with food so students can have nutritious meals through the weekend.
What started as assistance just for students at Robertsdale Elementary has expanded, Beam said, into Rosinton, Elsanor, Pine Grove and Stapleton Schools among others.
Catholic Social Services also provides assistance to families during the holidays through Project Christmas.
Christmas Sharing is an annual project to provide food, toys and gift items through a coordinated community effort. Each child receives three brand new gifts.
CSS also hosts a special project with Catholic Ladies of Charities for the elderly or home bound providing holiday bags filled with gifts.
Catholic Social Services welcomes donations for these and other programs, Beam said. If you would like more information, you can call 251-947-3877.