Just like hunger, the need for school supplies for underprivileged students knows no season. Too many kids in Marion County go to school hungry. Too many kids attend school without the supplies needed to keep them competitive with their peers.

Each August and September good people with the best intentions hold drives to gather backpacks, pencils, rulers, calculators, crayons, glue sticks and more to be distributed to the local students, whose families are not able to provide the necessary tools for today’s classrooms. Organizations and businesses hold school supply drives. And Marion County residents, who are able, give generously.

The need for school supplies is a year round need. Kids need glue sticks in the winter and spring, too, not just fall. They need notebooks, pencils, and erasers all year long. Salem-Keizer Education Foundation addresses that need with their supply depot.

The Foundation holds its school supply drive, partnering with dozens of local businesses that act as drop-off sites. The foundation’s depot is stocked at the beginning of the school year; supplies are pulled as needed throughout the academic year.

All the groups that hold their own school drives should coordinate with the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation by giving them the supplies they have gathered. The foundation works with counselors in every school in the Salem-Keizer School District and are always attuned to what is needed.

If all the donated supplies were given to the foundation’s depot they would benefit students from September to June. The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation would have to assure that other groups giving their collected supplies to the supply depot get the kudos they deserve.

It is the children, however, who should receive the attention. Philanthropy is important and plays a major part in a community’s life. Those who truly care about the end result of their good works rarely seek the spotlight for themselves.

There are children in our county and our city who need help. They want to be like their peers: they want to have three meals a day and have the school supplies everyone else has. A child’s educational career should not be marked with want.

All the school supply drives should go on; by making the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation the prime distributor and depository can affect the most children, which is what it’s all about.   —LAZ