By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
School is just around corner, and it seems like summer just started.
Kids are cherishing their last days of freedom, while parents are compiling lists of school supplies.
Lutheran Services in Iowa, which has an office in Anamosa (Strawberry Hill Elementary) and Monticello (St. Matthew Lutheran Church), offers a school supply program for families throughout Jones County.
“There are a lot of families in Monticello and Jones County that could use the help of the community gathering school supplies for their children for school,” offered Krystie Manson, a family support worker for LSI. “Any supplies that are donated in Monticello will go to the Monticello families first. These supplies are available for any family and not just strictly for families working with LSI.”
There are no requirements for those wishing to receive school supplies from LSI. The supplies are collected by LSI staff and divided up into backpacks for girls and boys of all ages.
“We help anyone that calls us with a need,” explained Amy Breitbach, a family support worker with LSI. “There are a lot of families that are falling between the cracks.”
After all of the donations are compiled, anything donated in Monticello stays in this community. Any left over school supplies are offered to those from other towns in Jones County.
Last year, LSI gave out 170 backpacks throughout Jones County.
Anyone with a need can contact LSI at 319-462-5318, and give your child’s gender, grade and school. Once the supplies have been divided into the bags, LSI then contacts the child’s guardians to come and pick up the backpacks at Strawberry Hill Elementary in Anamosa.
Aside from new school supplies that are donated, people can also donate new or gently used backpacks or monetary donations and LSI will go out and purchase supplies themselves for those in need.
“We want to serve the entire county with this program,” said Breitbach.
For those parents/guardians contacting LSI, all of the child’s personal information stays confidential. Those donating know nothing of the child’s age, gender, etc. LSI divides the supplies into gender-based backpacks according to each school’s list.
LSI is a non-profit organization, working to connect families in Jones County with different resources and agencies that can be of some help.
They also provide an in-home visitation service, working with families and kids ages 0 to 5 years old. LSI offers parental education, resource connections, developmental screenings and more.
They’ve helped refer families to area food pantries, provided gas cards, grocery gift cards and financial resource assistance through Jones County Community Services.
If you have any school supplies you would like to donate to families in Monticello or new/used backpacks, please drop them off at the Monticello Express and Shoppers’ Guide office, 111 E. Grand St. All supplies/donations need to be dropped off no later than Friday, Aug. 9.