It may seem obvious but students heading back to school need supplies. Yet the cost of school supplies tends to increase as students progress through school. The need for school supplies puts pressure on low-income families, where limited income and resources must be utilized for more important necessities like shelter, utilities, and transportation.
In the CNMI, during school year 2013-2014, more than 6,500 students were low income and qualified for the free school lunch program. Fortunately, this year, the Public School System will provide free lunches at the public schools to all students so that poor families no longer need to apply for this help. But the number of needy students in the CNMI is staggering.
How do low-income parents provide school supplies for their children? This is a pressing problem that effects the most vulnerable populations among us—children. A common solution among communities everywhere is the school-supply drive. This year, as in the past, the Marianas office of Micronesian Legal Services Corp. is sponsoring a Back-to-School Project. We distribute backpacks with school supplies to needy children. Our backpacks typically include a binder, filler paper, folder, notebook, composition book, pencil case, pencils, pens, eraser, sharpener. When available, we try to add additional items: For elementary school students, crayons, construction paper, scissors, ruler and glue; for middle school students, index cards, scotch tape, compass/protractor sets, graph paper and highlighter; for high school students, page protectors, white-out/correction tape, white/Xerox paper, colored pencils, and highlighter.
Anyone in the community can help by donating new school supplies, or contributing money to the project at P.O. Box 500826, Saipan, MP 96950, or dropping by the MLSC office at the VS Sablan building in Chalan Piao. Call for more information at 234-7729 or 234-6243. (PR)