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Getting foster, other kids ready for school

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A St. John Vianney student sits at her desk during the first day of class in this 2011 file photo (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

A St. John Vianney student sits at her desk during the first day of class in this 2011 file photo (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Knowledge is power. So is having the right tools to grow in knowledge.

Local Catholics have been pitching in to help send some of Arizona's 14,000 children in the foster care system back to school with the right supplies. There's always that underprivileged segment of the population to shop for as well. And there is still time to help both groups.

Members of the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale held a back-to-school drive for children in foster care after Masses July 20-21. Catholic Charities said the response was great… so is the need as the agency has already had nearly 50 kids receive supplies.

Students in the foster care system already took much of these supplies donated by members of the Franciscan Renewal Center (courtesy photo)

Students in the foster care system already took much of these supplies donated by members of the Franciscan Renewal Center (courtesy photo)

Additional school gear, especially for high school teens, would still come in handy such as:

  • backpacks
  • flash drive
  • higher functioning calculator
  • spiral bound paper notebooks (Catholic Charities should have enough filler paper)
  • new one-inch or one-and-a-half binders

“We can use any and all supplies to supplement for families generously giving to the kids in foster care by providing them a home and loving stability,” Sally Gramke with Catholic Charities said.

She assured everything would be put to good use. Leftovers will support Catholic Charities' outreach throughout Coconino, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai counties.

Drop off donations 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Catholic Charities, 4747 N. 7th Ave.

Area students are also receiving back-to-school support from:

  • Arizona Helping Hands — This organization's annual school supply drive for students in foster care runs through Sept. 5. Community members and businesses can drop off pencils, pens, notebooks, crayons, protractors, rulers and calculators at Arizona Helping Hands in the Scottsdale Airpark.
  • Women of Hope at St. Timothy Parish in Mesa — The group held a back-to-school drive after Masses July 20-21. Supplies went to children in the community.
  • St. Steven's St. Vincent de Paul conference — Parishioners are taking up their annual collection for St. Peter Indian School in Bapchule and one other unidentified school.
  • St. Andrew the Apostle Parish and Make an Investment in Love and Kindness — The Chandler parish along with the Chandler-based Catholic-run organization were part of the planning and volunteer effort for Operation Back to School. The parish donated just over $1,000 toward the effort plus two wagons full of backpacks and other supplies collected from its 5th Sunday Good Sams effort. Early estimates put the number of Chandler-area students served at 700. Read coverage from The Arizona Republic.
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New binders are in small supply — big demand at Catholic Charities. (courtesy photo)

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