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Amid a school supply shortage, community steps up to help parents and educators

Posted at 9:43 AM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 10:43:31-04

WACO, TX — It may feel like we just closed the chapter that was the 2020 school year, but just as that chapter closed, the book is reopening as we welcome a new, more “normal” school year.

As classrooms reopen and students return back to desks, finding school supplies may be harder than ever.

Experts believe because of the pandemic, school supplies could be the next round of shortages and it’s impacting both teachers and parents who strive to set their students up for success.

“Even the kiddos who bring their own supplies, we go through stuff,” said Christina Newberry, a 16-year educator who teaches multiple grade levels at Copperas Cove ISD. “Tissues, composition notebooks, all of those supplies really help, otherwise it really does come from our own pockets.”

Last year was anything but normal when students turned to screens from the more traditional way of learning, meaning not as many school supplies were needed.

“Every year presents challenges, and we’re just going to rise to them,” Newberry explained.

Now that the 2020 school year chapter closed, it doesn’t mean issues are still lingering.

In fact, experts believe the next round of shortages we’ll see will be school supplies as more students head back to classrooms.

Knowing this, the community is stepping in to help those who need it.

“Our officers are always out there serving our community,” Cierra Shipley with the Waco Police Department said. “But we want to go beyond that, we want to let the community know that we are here any step of the way.”

The department is holding a back-to-school bash on August 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where officers will hand out school supplies, clothes and provide free haircuts there.

All in an effort to alleviate some of the stress from both parents and educators.

“We are so excited to just provide this to the community and hang out with families and those kids during the back-to-school bash,” Shipley said.

A small donation can mean the world to those teaching the upcoming generations.

“It's kind of like a smile,” Newberry said, explaining what donating school supplies to a student means to them. “You don't know what someone's going through, but just that smile that you give them you don't know what ripple effect or impact that it has.”