As a kid, there was nothing I loved more than walking up and down the aisles, filling our cart with shiny new school supplies. And yes, I know exactly how dorky that makes me sound. But are you seriously trying to tell me that you didn’t get just a little thrill from picking out the perfect Trapper Keeper? How about from opening a brand new box of crayons? And then there was the pencil box. I get a little dreamy just thinking about.
Today’s back to school lists are a bit more daunting than those we received in the ’70s and ’80s. It takes more than a couple of boxes of Kleenex and a No. 2 pencil to attend free public school these days. Just glancing at DISD’s lists, I’d say there is over $50.00 worth of stuff on there, and that is not counting a backpack. Multiply that by two or three kids in a given family, and it is no wonder that there are those in our community that don’t look forward to back to school shopping.
Yes folks, it should be no surprise that poverty is alive and well right here in North Oak Cliff. We see the homeless on our streets everyday, and our hearts go out to them, particularly in this unrelenting heat. What we don’t see daily, however, is the need of our community’s children and families which, while perhaps behind closed doors, is just as real.
Enter the Goslin Opportunity Center. While Marsha Mills and her tireless group of volunteers continue to meet the emergency food requirements of those in need across a five zip code area, they have also registered 308 deserving children to receive school supplies at a Back to School Bash on Saturday August 20th. That’s a lot of pens, pencils and crayons folks, and as of last week, donations were way down.
The good news is the North Oak Cliff and Cliff Temple communities have rallied and, as of this morning, we had nearly 80% of what we will need to fill the kids lists. As long as 151 boxes of washable markers, 91 boxes of map colors, 116 pairs of scissors and 309 pocket folders find their way to Goslin this coming week, it looks like we will be able to meet the basic supply needs of our kids.
What we don’t have are backpacks, and while they may not be a required item on some school lists, can you imagine a child going to school without one? Me either. So today, instead of buying a fancy new PB Kids backpack to replace last year’s fancy PB Kids backpack that is still in great shape, I took my big boy to Walmart where he picked out three nice new backpacks for the kids in his neighborhood.
No. I didn’t actually let him buy that wrestling one.
How can we expect our community’s children to get the education that they must have in order to improve the outlook for their future, if we are not willing to supply the tools that they need to learn? We can’t. So brave the heat, go to Walmart or Target or wherever, and donate a backpack to Goslin. You can drop it in the atrium at Cliff Temple Baptist Church at 125 Sunset Ave., Dallas, Texas 75208. Or call me. I’ll get it there.
As of this morning they needed 238. Only 235 more to go!