Local project helps students get ready for school

By: Ashley Park Email
By: Ashley Park Email

ADA, OK -- As many parents prepare to send their kids back to school, making sure they have the basic supplies is necessary, and the Back to School Basics Project is there to help.

"The first day of school is very important, it sets the tone for the whole school year," says project coordinator, Suzanne McFarlane.

For $25, Back to School Basics provides school supplies like backpacks, pencils, crayons, and notebooks for kids in need in grades "K" through 12.

The project serves all school systems in Pontotoc County.
About 1,000 students receive the supplies they need to start the school year.

"I felt very strongly and still do that the playing field for the children need to be leveled for all children on their first day of school," McFarlane said.

The funding for the supplies come from The Fireball Classic 5 and 10k held every Fourth of July.
Jessica West has been volunteering with the project for 14 years, and says it's very rewarding.

"Just seeing a little kid light up because they have their own backpacks, or their own pair of scissors, and they don't have to share with Bubba or Sissy, that just lights up my life," said West.

Parent, Kimberly Jamito, says she's grateful her children don't have to worry about not having supplies on their first day of school.

"Every year they've helped me, every year, and I appreciate it because they wouldn't get backpacks," Jamito said. "They're expensive, and if they didn't have them, they wouldn't get it."

Jamito's two sons, Zachary and Bruce, got to pick out their backpacks and are excited to start their favorite activities in the second grade.

"Getting to play on the playground," says Zachary.

"Doing science," Bruce said.

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