For many, back to school memories may include the scent of freshly sharpened pencils, unspoiled notebooks, a new backpack and a couple of crisp, fall outfits. There is anticipation of new classes, new friends and best of all, a clean slate.
The first day of school is bittersweet; it is the end of summer, yet a fresh start. Unfortunately, for some students, the playing field is not equal, even from the first day of school. Those students do not have the backpacks, notebooks, or even pencils that enables and motivates their fellow classmates.
Dr. Craig Pruitt of said residents might be unaware that many of our neighbors struggle to put food on the table; and many families can not provide their children basic school supplies.
“It seems crazy that parents and kids have that problem here,” said Pruitt. He cited a Secret Santa program in the school system that sends food home in student's backpacks to ensure basic nutritional needs are met.
These students should not have to go without supplies, he said. “Let’s take that out of the equation so they can focus on learning.”
To do just that, Pruitt is accepting donations for school supplies at his office on East Main Road. The donations will be distributed between Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth schools.
“All I care about is getting more supplies,” said Pruitt. He said the drive depends on donations from both patients and the public.
The initiative started in 2005 when Pruitt heard the victims of hurricane Katrina were coming to Middletown.
“I couldn’t help but think they didn’t have anything for school,” said Pruitt. He said that year, his office was overflowing with donations.
“It was fun and people loved it,” he said. Pruitt learned the hurricane victims were not the only families in need of the donated supplies. It was at that time he learned there was a real need, right here in our backyard.
Pruitt believes it is the responsibility of the community to ensure our children have the tools necessary to receive an education. “It’s community service through local business,” he said.
Donations can be dropped off at 88 East Main Road during the hours of Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m until 6:00 p.m.; Fridays 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Individuals who donate bag of school supplies may receive an optional free spinal evaluation.
Donations will be accepted until August 31.
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