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Back to School with New Supplies

Publication: NWITimes.com
By: Annette Arnold

Erin Woike, The Caring Place Shelter Coordinator

Erin Woike, The Caring Place shelter coordinator, looks at all the school supplies which were donated to The Caring Place.

Photo provided by Annette Arnold

Mary Beth Schultz was overwhelmed as she looked through the room of pencils, pens, paper, book-bags, markers, and folders at The Caring Place office.

"We have received a ton of donations this year from people for school supplies," said Schultz, executive director of The Caring Place. Last year we got hardly any school supply donations but this year we have a room full of items for kids to choose from."

The kids that are in the shelters can come to the office and fill a book bag with the supplies they need.

“We have a lot more than we usually get and that is surprising with the economy,” said Schultz.

Schultz was touched by the overwhelming generosity of people in the community but one little girl really made an impression.

Isabel Uzelac of Valparaiso, along with her mom and brother, brought in supplies and lots of them.

Three years ago Uzelac’s mom heard about people collecting school supplies for people in another and the family decided to collect school supplies but give them to needy kids locally.

So Isabel, age 9, decided to go door-to-door and ask family and friends for donations.

The first year she collected $100 and this year she raised more than $300.

She and her mom went crazy shopping for bargains on pens, pencils, papers, and more. They literally donated so much that they were able to give supplies to Spring Valley Shelter.

“I like helping kids and kids should have new book bags and supplies when they go to school,” said Uzelac, “ I like to shop and my mom and I did a lot of shopping looking for bargains on school supplies.”

Uzelac hopes to do this again next year and collect even more money for more school supplies.

Erin Woike, the shelter coordinator, couldn’t help but smile as she checked out all the supplies.

“It’s like Christmas out here for these kids because they can choose their own things,” said Woike. “All kids should be able to go to school with new supplies and with things they need.”

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