Sunday, July 27, 2008

Group needs help to get kids ready for school

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

More than 300 students from the Belton school district need your help. And the deadline is fast approaching.
'School supplies are needed, yes,' said Jeannette Kelley, founder of Project Appletree, a program that has worked for 10 years to make sure that the start of school is a happy time for children from low-income families. 'But we also need sponsors for these 300 kids who signed up for new outfits.'
Project Appletree students receive a pair of jeans, a shirt, undergarments, a pair of shoes and socks in addition to the things like crayons, scissors and notebook paper. All of the items are new.
'It's the older kids who are harder to get sponsors for,' Ms. Kelley said. 'It's because it's so expensive, with the sizes being bigger. But every year, we've had every child be sponsored, so I know it'll happen again.'

People wanting to provide a student with a new outfit can register with Project Appletree at the Baptist Student Ministries building on the campus of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor at the corner of Eighth Ave. and Pearl Street in Belton.
School supply lists are also available at Project Appletree Headquarters.
'People can come in and sign up here or they can call me,' Ms. Kelley said. 'You can sponsor the whole child, that is, get them the clothes and supplies. Or you can do just clothes or just supplies.'
Those who don't have the time to shop can still help. It takes $25 to provide one student with a pre-sorted package of supplies. Checks should be made out to Project Appletree.
More than 1,300 children have expressed need for school supplies and new clothes.
'The names of the students we help come from the Helping Hands Food Pantry,' Ms. Kelley said. 'All the kids are in families who are clients over there.'
The Helping Hands Ministry is a Belton-based non-profit organization that helps low-income families on a case-by-case basis. The kinds of help the clients get depend on their level of need.
'Helping Hands does the screening for us,' Ms. Kelley said. 'They also keeps track of who wears what sizes.'
The last day for families to register for new clothing was July 24. Ms. Kelley said the Helping Hands Food Pantry is still accepting registrations from clients who need school supplies.
Distribution day is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18.
'Like last year, there will be area professions giving free haircuts,' Ms. Kelley said.
The Project Appletree care packages will include dental care packages from area professionals and personal hygiene packs from Altrusa.
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How to help
Whether it's a donation or volunteering on distribution day, Project Appletree needs help. Call Jeannette Kelley at 254-718-4514

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