Once Cesar Morales signed his son, Yadier Morales, they headed to the first table to choose a backpack.
Yadier, 7, chose his favorite color, blue.
Then at other tables set up in an L-shape in the commons of Seymour High School on Saturday, he filled the backpack with school supplies, including an art box, folders, pencils, erasers, pencils and notebooks.
When they reached the end, Yadier said he was ready for school from August 10.
“That’s a lot of help,” Cesar said of receiving the free school supplies, thanking everyone who made it possible.
Yadier was all smiles because he had what he needed for school, and he is looking forward to returning to Margaret R. Brown Elementary School for another great year.
“Every year we get even smarter,” the second-grader said of what he loves about school, noting his favorite subjects are math and reading.
Later on Saturday, Jose Alonso crossed the line with two of his children, Jonathan Alonso, 11, and Emily Alonso, 13.
Emily chose her favorite color, purple, which is also one of Seymour’s school colors, while Jonathan opted for a black backpack.
“I like to save money. It’s good that they help people,” said Jose.
Jonathan said he was nervous about entering sixth grade this school year, but he loves going to school.
“I like it at least it teaches me something,” he said.
Emily is entering eighth grade, her senior year at Seymour Middle School.
“I just like it to be interesting,” she said. “I like going to school.”
Emily Engelking, director of engagement for Jackson County United Way, said it was good to hear the positive feedback from families at Saturday’s Rock ‘n Ready school supply event.
One of the volunteers overheard someone say, “This is the best day of my life.
“We had a lot of parents who came out, as they were leaving they were like, ‘Thank you guys so much for that. It’s so helpful,” Engelking said.
This means a lot to her and the members of the Rock’n Ready committee, as work for the program begins in February each year. That’s when they start looking for sponsors and working behind the scenes to prepare for registration, which opens in April.
“Sponsorships have been very low this year,” Engelking said. “I also think that’s one thing that contributes to companies not doing as much because the costs are high.”
Still, United Way was very grateful to everyone who contributed financially, as it all went towards school supplies.
“Every dollar we earn, we reinvest to buy all the supplies,” she said. “This is the second year that we’ve really tried to make the most of every dollar we have.”
Some businesses had collection boxes set up from mid-June to July 13, so this was another way to help.
“It was a hit, especially Edward Jones,” Engelking said. “All Edward Jones sites have collected over 1,000 articles.”
There was also the Stuff the Bus initiative, where volunteers stood outside the entrances to the Walmart Supercenter in Seymour to collect school supplies and monetary donations and put them on a school bus. This took place from July 8 to 13.
“The eighth was rainy but for the rest of the five days we made more money than last year which was amazing because last year was our biggest year so that was good” , Engelking said. “We received a lot of cash donations this year. Currency was up, but supplies were down, so we still had to buy a lot more.
Engelking said about 200 students were registered for the July 23 Rock’n Ready event in Brownstown, and 675 students were registered for Saturday’s event in Seymour.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings last week, Engelking went to Walmart to buy the last-minute school supplies he needed.
At both events, she was impressed with the volunteers who showed up to help. They included school employees, members of the Rock’n Ready committee and other members of the community.
Engelking has worked for United Way for about three years, and these were his first in-person events, as backpacks have been filled and distributed to children on the first day of school for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was a little nervous because we didn’t have an influx of volunteers until maybe a week or two ago, but it was so great because then everyone came, and it was so nice,” she said. “I think the most important thing about doing something like this is knowing that you have people working…I wasn’t worried. I knew everything was going to happen, and that’s the best part.
The other Rock’n Ready distribution event will take place from 5-7 p.m. at Community Schools in Medora. Emerald Robinson, a member of the Rock’n Ready committee, said 154 students were enrolled.
In total, Engelking said about 1,200 Jackson County students will benefit from Rock’n Ready. That’s up from 1,100 in 2021.
“I think a lot of it is the economy, like things are more expensive, so parents are just trying to find ways to lighten up, what we’re interested in is financial stability,” he said. she declared. “If it’s one thing that families can do so they don’t have to pay because back to school is so expensive, then that’s great.”
In Crothersville, the Helping Hearts organization collects school supplies in the summer to distribute to students at enrollment events and the first day of school. This group held a July 22 block party at Bard Street Park, where supplies were collected, a bake sale was held to raise money for supplies, and community resources, including United Way, were held. been put in place.
Even though Rock’n Ready for 2022 is ending soon, cash donations are accepted year-round, which will go to the program in 2023.
“We just keep that total rolling year after year, so we can always use (monetary donations),” Engelking said. “If people want to donate school supplies, they can donate them to us or directly to a school.”