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Giveaway to help students at Fairland Schools

ROME TOWNSHIP — They saw a need and found a solution. That’s what a couple of women from New Hope United Methodist Church did when they realized there were young people in their community who couldn’t afford school supplies.

That’s when Robin Ross and Dena Laton started the annual school supply giveaway for Fairland Schools. Joining them is Laton’s daughter, Grayson Laton, now a junior at Fairland.

This year the giveaway will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at the fellowship hall at the church.

The giveaway started seven years ago and helped 100 students. Last year that figure increased to 150.

“It steadily grows,” Laton said.

When the school year ends is when work on the next giveaway begins as the women start collecting donations of money or supplies from church members and the community.

“Then we go shopping at Walmart,” Laton said. “We look for bargains, watch for sales and go shopping. We start shopping as soon as Walmart puts their stuff out. We hit Walmart and Walgreens has a good deal on backpacks. When we see a good ad, we stock up.”

How much they spend depends on what they are given.

“We have a general idea what each grade requires and we fill pencil boxes with supplies and try to get the type of folders each teacher requires,” Laton said. “By the end of the day, we can’t meet everyone’s needs, but it gives them a start.”

On the Wednesday before the giveaway, volunteers meet at the church to start sorting and packing the supplies.

“It depends on how many people,” she said. “It could be three or four hours.”

Then on Saturday the volunteers show up at the church by 9 a.m. and are not surprised to see a line in front of the church.

“They are always so appreciative, especially the parents,” Laton said. “You can tell there are a lot of grandparents who are raising their grandkids.