CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — Story published 7/19/19:
The start of the school year is less than one month away, and a few organizations are already trying to help the kids who need it most by getting them school supplies.
Kids First of Florida said it's one organization that’s partnering with others to host a back-to-school drive specifically to help foster and adopted children.
April Martin is one of the foster parents on the receiving end. She said it takes a lot to make sure kids are equipped with everything they need.
That’s why support from the community is essential.
“The list of school supplies in elementary school, especially, but even junior, in high school, it’s a long list,” Martin said.
Martin said she and her husband have been foster parents for almost five years, so they’ve witnessed the challenges of trying to fully prepare their kids for school.
“It’s kind of overwhelming sometimes in the beginning and even so as a veteran foster parent,” Martin said.
That’s why she appreciates organizations like Kids First and everyone in the community who vows to help make that process smoother.
She also said items like sturdy backpacks often go overlooked but are essential to students' success just like other school supplies.
“You giving my children a stack of notebooks or a stack of pens or whatever it is their teacher is asking for them to have, that’s helping me,” Martin said.
Irene Toto is the CEO of Kids First of Florida.
She said foster children often already have a disadvantage considering what’s happening in their personal lives.
“We want our children the children that are involved with Kids First to go back to school with the same supplies and the same cool things that all other kids have,” Toto said.
Toto and Martin believe donating is how everyone can be part of the solution.
“Everybody’s not made or cut out to necessarily be a foster parent, but everybody can support a foster parent in some way so this allows the community to do that,” Martin said.
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