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Program provides ‘tools for schools’ in county

Free school supplies and money donations have made it back to Franklin County schools as the Tools for Schools program in Northwest Alabama was deemed a success.

School supplies and donations were gathered at area Wal-Marts in three counties from mid July until mid August to help area school systems with their supply lists.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Shoals and Jerry Damson Honda/Nissan in Florence teamed up this year to donate money and distribute the supplies.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters CEO Monica Grubbs said there are many that help families out with school supplies but this program makes sure those who don’t receive the help they need get it because the supplies go directly to the schools.

“Its good for people to see the supplies come back to their community,” she said. “The supplies and money donations raised this year go directly to the schools so that teachers can draw from it at the beginning of school and throughout the year making sure those who need it get it.”

Grubbs said her organization was very fortunate to team up with Jerry Damson Honda/Nissan in Florence for the second year and work with them to not only distribute school supplies, but raise funds as well.

“Last year was the first year we were able to give money donations and it seemed to get a big response from local schools,” she said. “So this year we did the same thing by partnering with Jerry Damson Honda/Nissan in Florence. They do a promotion in July to where every car they sell they donated $100 to the cause and it has just been wonderful to get that support.”

Six county elementary school systems including Tharptown, Vina, Phil Campbell, East Franklin, Russellville West Elementary and Russellville Elementary received a total of $3,000 worth of supplies and money donations.

The program raised a total of $9,700 this year for Northwest Alabama schools.

Grubbs said her staff did an excellent job sorting through boxes, distributing supplies and money and doing a majority of the “leg-work.”

Grubbs said she has found great appreciation from educators through the Tools for Schools program.

“Teachers more than ever said they needed supplies and money this year because of the impact proration has had along with budget cuts,” she said. “Some teachers end up spending money out of their own pockets to help those in their classrooms make it through the year because they care so much. Our mission was to see that diminish that situation and for them to use classroom budget money for more important things than supplies.”

Russellville Elementary principal Kristie Ezzell said the supplies gathered through the program actually last throughout the entire year.

“It helps out tremendously for our kids who need supplies to work and for our school parents who are out of work,” she said. “They give us quite a bit of stuff and it is all organized in a room to where if a teacher needs something they can go in at anytime and get what they need. The supplies usually last all year and our teachers are so grateful for it.”

Tools for Schools is a promotional, fundraising program in association with WHNT News 19 out of Huntsville.