Sumter United Ministries still collecting school supplies

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Sumter United Ministries still needs help collecting school supplies this summer to help local students Gear Up for Learning.

Mark Champagne, executive director, said the goal of the Gear Up for Learning project is to provide supplies to 2,500 kids.

"We're off to a pretty good start," he said.

Teachers and guidance counselors with Sumter School District will divide the collected supplies among the schools for students in need, he said.

Champagne said there is still a need for three-ring binders, primary writing tablets for elementary school students, wide-ruled and college-ruled notebook paper, folders without clasps, composition notebooks and blue and black pens.

Adrian Mills, a volunteer, said there is also a need for backpacks, but the school supplies are more important. The students need the tools to put inside the backpacks, she said.

Mills said volunteers moved supplies from Sumter United Ministries' main office to First Baptist Church on Thursday to prepare to pack the items for local students.

She said a lot of items have been collected so far, and a large group of volunteers was needed to help move everything.

Mills, who has participated in the project for about four years, said a large amount of items have been donated.

"We normally don't start off with a lot of items," she said.

Mills said the money that is collected will be used to purchase more school supplies once the collection period ends.

It's such a blessing to collect supplies for the kids so they can have what they need to start the school year on the same level, she said.

Collection for school supplies started on July 11 and will be processed until Aug. 16.

Donations can be dropped off at First Baptist Church, 107 E. Liberty St., between 9 a.m. and noon or Bynum Insurance, 1170 Wilson Hall Road.