By Terry Harris
Donations are needed for a community-wide collaborative Back to School event sponsored by Sussex County Schools, Sussex Sheriff’s Office, Sussex Social Services, Sussex Coalition. Sussex DSS Director Bertha Judge, backpacks filled with school supplies will be distributed to students on August 22, 2020 at Sussex Central High School bus loop, and it is for this event that donations of backpacks and all sorts of school supplies are being sought.
“This idea came about as a way to show that Sussex is a community that can come together to support all residents as one, regardless of which area of the county students reside,” Judge said. “We are requesting that churches and other organizations donate, fill backpacks, school supplies or just donate backpacks. We challenge community organizations to donate at least 15 backpacks. These will be divided between the elementary and the middle and high school students.”
“Families will remain in their vehicles while donations will be handed out,” she added. “We are excited about this opportunity to serve the students of this community, but we are in desperate need for these back-to-school supplies and backpacks for Sussex county students. Drop off boxes are located at Sussex Social Services, Sussex County Sheriff’s Office, Sussex County Treasurer’s Office and Sussex County Administration building.”
“I hope that every department will donate as many as they can,” she added. “This event will be as successful as the community wants it to be by the show of support through their donations. This is an excellent time to show support while so many families are impacted by COVID-19. It is the community partners’ way of ensuring that children have some of the items they need when school begins.”
“We want to make this event special,” said Tia Sanchez, who handles Special Projects for DSS. “On top of the unpredictability of school starting, we know a lot of parents in Sussex took a financial hit with COVID-19, plus schools had to shut down so teachers can’t do what they always do to prepare for children. The kids had their normalcy snatched from them, and we wanted to have this drive to get them excited and let them know that the community is there for them.”
“We want to get them excited about getting back to school and reengaging with their education,” she added. “We’re trying to get as many backpacks as we possibly can, and we plan to be out there cheering the children on – kind of a little pep rally to get them excited and let them know that the community is here for them. To show them that we’re sorry about last year, but we want them to have good supplies for starting off this year and we’re praying for them and hoping for a successful year for this year.”
Sanchez said that the goal is to have enough filled bags to provide one for every child who comes out to participate in the drive-through at Sussex Central High School on Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Everyone is to remain in their car, and students must accompany an adult to receive supplies. For questions or further information contact Tia Sanchez or Bertha Judge at the Department of Social Services – 434-246-1083.