By Jonathan Toye at Kerrville Daily Times, July 24, 2020
Inside her office in the Salvation Army Kroc Center on Thursday, Capt. Beth Swyers asked the Kerr County community for help.
The Salvation Army recently launched its annual back-to-school drive, which helps collect school supplies for disadvantaged children. During previous years, A Kerr County resident could simply adopt a student by entering the Kroc Center and obtaining a yellow school bus-shaped placard that contained the specific school supply needs of that individual student. They could then purchase those items along with a new backpack and pair of shoes and drop them off at the Kroc Center.
There is just one problem this year: there has been a lot less traffic at the Kroc Center because of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning many students have yet to be adopted. At the moment, 220 students have registered for the program; Swyers estimates that 190 still need to be adopted. The School supply drive ends Aug. 3; the Salvation Army plans on distributing the new backpacks with school supplies to students on Aug. 8.
“We don’t have the foot traffic that we normally do,” Swyers said.
That’s why the Salvation Army is giving residents more options to adopt students this season. The organization has partnered with Walmart, placing a board of school bus placards in the store. People can also adopt by calling Swyers at 315-5762 and obtaining school supplies over the phone. They can even send a check to Swyers and she can purchase the supplies herself.
“We are trying to make it as hands on or hands off as you would like,” Swyers said.“This is an opportunity for some kids to go back to school on a little more even footing. It helps them to have all those supplies the other kids have also. A lot of kids are really excited about going back to school because they haven’t seen their friends in so long.
And she also pointed out that most students are more excited to learn when they have new school supplies.
“I think some people are hesitant, ‘Are the kids going to go to school?’ But we have to prepare that the kids are going back to school because that’s what we have been told,” Swyers said. “If kids can go back to school with the new backpack and especially new shoes, it definitely does boost their confidence. “It helps them start the year right, especially in these uncertain times kids are in.”