Inter-Faith seeks program sponsors

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Inter-Faith Community Services seeks to sign up sponsors who will help prepare more than 1,000 kindergartners through eighth-graders from needy families for the first day of school.

“We have about 550 children on the list for our Ready, Set, School program that provides each child a backpack, school supplies and an outfit for the first day of school. Right now, we need sponsors for 88 of those children,” said Sandra Blythe-Perry, Inter-Faith director. “We also need people to help us provide backpacks and school supplies for another 500 children.”

A Ready, Set, School sponsor agrees to provide a backpack, a gift certificate for a pair of shoes, age-appropriate school supplies and at least one new outfit, along with socks and underwear. The total cost, depending on the age of the child, is $100 to $300.

“We provide the sponsor the name, age and clothing sizes of a child, the youngster’s hobby, favorite color and school grade,” Blythe-Perry said. “If a sponsor asks for a specific age or gender, we’ll do our best to accommodate them.”

Since she knows there will be individuals who want to help but may not be able to be a Ready, Set, School sponsor, there is a way provided.

“We invite people to contribute what they can, such as a backpack and some school supplies,” the IFCS director said. “We will assemble all those donations and put together the backpack and school supplies we distribute to children. Of course, if someone wants to make cash donations, we have shoppers here who will get the most for every dollar available to help us reach our goal.”

All the donations will be assembled at the Inter-Faith office at 3370 S. Irving St. and distributed from July 31 to Aug. 3.

At the 2011 distribution, Shelly Murphy hugged the volunteers as they brought the items to her two children.

“I am a single mom with two children. I work two part-time, fast-food jobs because I can’t find a full-time one,” the Sheridan resident said. “It is hard but we manage. However, I didn’t know what I was going to do to get the kids ready to start school. Everything is so expensive. Now Inter-Faith had provided them not only school supplies but a new outfit to wear. It is wonderful and ‘thank you’ just doesn’t express how grateful we are for what they have provided. God bless Inter-Faith for all that they do.”

For information about the program and how it works, call Inter-Faith at 303-789-0501.

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