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Back to school drive kicks off at Springville Trading Post

SPRINGVILLE — While school buses have rumbled to a halt and kids have thrown backpacks and textbooks into the closet, to gather dust for a few months, the Springville Trading Post is already gearing up for its back-to-school drive.

According to CEO and Outreach Chaplain Linette Crelly, the community is invited to participate in the annual endeavor, July 4 – the end of August.

Newly named “Pack-a-Backpack,” the former “New for School” Giving Tree campaign is geared toward providing low-income area children with all of the supplies they will need, when the new school year kicks off.

More than 20,000 individuals were assisted by the Trading Post’s many outreaches, during the past year, and Crelly said she anticipates reaching more than 200 children, through this summer’s back-to-school drive. “We are all about touching hearts and changing lives, by helping with practical needs, such as clothing,” she said.

Crelly announced several changes to the annual endeavor, which is now in its ninth year. “In the past, we focused on the one-on-one connection,” she said.

Participants were formerly asked to adopt a child and provide him or her with everything needed, for the first day of school, including a new outfit, backpack and school supplies. “We got a lot of feedback, saying that adopting children was getting costly,” Crelly said.

The still anonymous arrangement now allows participants to contribute, in a variety of ways.

Interested parties may still adopt a child. Now, while they may choose to provide all of the back-to-school supplies, they may also purchase just the items they can afford. “They don’t have to do everything, but they can,” Crelly said.

Those who would like to adopt a child may call the Trading Post, which will provide a child’s age, size and color preferences. Area school supply lists for each age group are available in the school supply section at the Springville Wal-Mart.

The community may also participate, by hosting school supply drives at churches, businesses and individual homes. “We need at least 80 – 100 sponsors, to do this,” Crelly said. “We cannot do this, without our sponsors.”

Both individuals and groups may sign up, to host drives. The hosts may choose to make their drives general, accepting any items, or specific, such as a shoe or backpack drive. One Hamburg church recently held an “Undie Sunday” fundraiser event.

Crelly said that interested parties may contact the Trading Post for more information, or for flyer ideas.

Monetary donations, for the upcoming drive, are also accepted. Gift cards or checks, made out to the Trading Post, may be mailed to P.O. Box 96, Springville, NY 14141, or delivered to the Trading Post. “It costs about $100, to sponsor a child completely, but any amount will help,” Crelly said.

Volunteers interested in helping on the logistical end may contact the Trading Post directly. Crelly said that participants may assist in changing the post’s inventory from summer to fall clothing, in mid-August, or assist in the office. “We could use help calling businesses to sponsor,” she said.

The drive, which is income-based, is open to children in the Southern Tier area. Applications, due July 9, are currently available at the Trading Post, at local school nurses’ stations, the local food pantry and at area churches. “We want to help those who need it the most,” Crelly said.

“We are not just a do-good mission,” she added. “We want to show God’s love. We have a deeper mission, of touching hearts and changing lives.”

The Pack-a-Backpack is one of the Trading Post Giving Tree’s annual campaigns. Other yearly events include “Baby Love,” in March and April; “Kids 2 Camp,” in May and June; “Coats for Kids,” in September and October; “Christmas Blessings,” in November and December and food drives, all year long.

For more information, contact the Trading Post at 592-4455 or tradingpost1@yahoo.com or visit www.fellowshiphill.org or www.facebook.com/fellowshiphill. The Trading Post is located at 38 Franklin St. in Springville.

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