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School supply, food, toy drives aim to help
by Bobby Tedder
July 23, 2014 12:33 PM | 2575 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff/Samantha M. Shal
Community Assistance Center volunteer Mike Stoner of Sandy Springs organizes binders in the school supply storage area.
Staff/Samantha M. Shal Community Assistance Center volunteer Mike Stoner of Sandy Springs organizes binders in the school supply storage area.
With the usual barrage of annual back-to-school sales and similarly-themed happenings just around the corner, several local groups are helping students in need prepare for their first day back on campus.

Case-in-point: For staffers and volunteers at the Community Assistance Center, this time of year finds them in the midst of their annual backpack drive.

The Sandy Springs-based nonprofit, which serves the working poor in that city and Dunwoody, has set out to distribute 1,000 backpacks — each stocked with school supplies requested by local teachers to meet individual student’s classroom needs. The program accommodates pre-kindergartners through high school seniors.

“It’s very labor intensive … but it’s a labor of love,” said Tamara Carrera, the center’s executive director. “We really go out of our way to make the kids feel like, ‘I’m on the same plane as everybody else the first day of school.’”

For the third consecutive year, a large portion of the school supplies is being funded by an anonymous donor from Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Sandy Springs and matching donations.

The center is also in the thick of its summer lunch bag program. Its objective is to provide between 1,000 and 2,000 nutrition-laden lunches — five per child per week — by the time school starts in August.


Other local drives include:

n The Children’s Restoration Network is collecting new book bags and school supplies for the more than 4,500 children living in shelters, orphanages and group homes in 20 metro Atlanta counties.

Kroger stores are serving as public drop-off sites through Aug. 2. Supplies and book bags can also be dropped off at the organization’s office at 11285 Elkins Road, Suite C-4, Roswell.


o Agape Youth and Family Center in northwest Atlanta is asking community members to host drives for backpacks and supplies or to sponsor a full backpack for $50 per child through July.

Information: Jared Sulc, (404) 367-3947 or

o Lift Up Atlanta, a nonprofit that helps the homeless and low-income families in metro Atlanta, is hosting a backpack/school supply drive for needy children Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at Sandy Springs United Methodist Church, 85 Mount Vernon Hwy.

The organization is asking community members to provide new backpacks filled with school supplies, school outfits and shoes, which will go to 500 needy children.

Information: (678) 245-4622, or

o Throughout July, the IKEA located at 441 16th St. in Atlantic Station will host its Feeding the Future fundraiser. For every healthy kids’ meal purchased at its restaurant, IKEA will donate $1 toward Feeding America, a nonprofit whose aim is to curb childhood hunger. It will donate up to $50,000 to Feeding America.


o Through July 31, Carolyn Patterson of Buckhead and her team of volunteers from Buckhead to Decatur to Dunwoody are holding a new and used book drive for Bolton Academy in northwest Atlanta, with the goal of donating 1,000 books.

About 70 percent of students at the school, which serves some Buckhead residents, qualify for Title 1 benefits and do not have any books to read at home, said its PTA co-chair, Carolyn Redmond. Residents can drop off books at one of 15 volunteers’ homes or one business, the Trader Joe’s in Buckhead.


o Through July 31, Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead is hosting its Christmas in July toy drive, in which families can bring a new, unwrapped and unopened toy to the center and receive a Kids Go Free voucher with the purchase of an adult ticket. The center will also match the donation with a Lego toy, all benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.


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