UNION COUNTY — Families needing some extra help to prepare their children for school got it earlier this month when Broad River Electric Cooperative donated 950 book bags filled with school supplies to the county’s five elementary schools and the Town of Carlisle.
As it did last year, Broad River Electric Charities used Operation Round Up funds to purchase book bags for elementary school students in Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties. This year, Broad River Electric asked for donations of school supplies to fill 3,000 backpacks.
Local churches, businesses, and organizations responded, bringing approximately 4,200 notebooks, 1,500 packs of paper, and 10,000 pencils along with countless other supplies to the cooperative offices during the month of July.
The Dollar General Distribution Center in Jonesville was a big contributor, donating 3,000 spiral-bound notebooks. Other contributors included the participants in the Cherokee County Jerusalem Project, Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Gaffney), Buford Street United Methodist (Gaffney), Oakbrook Community Church (Union), Trinity Fellowship (Cowpens), Oakdale Baptist (Cowpens), Betty’s Antiques and Collectibles (Chesnee), El Bethel Baptist (Gaffney), Rehoboth Baptist (Gaffney), Palmetto Baptist (Chesnee), Union Baptist (Chesnee), Mon Aetna Baptist (Union), Hopewell Baptist (Blacksburg), Walmart of Gaffney, Brookview Healthcare Center (Gaffney), Walmart Supercenter (Gaffney), and Tabernacle Baptist (Union).
Over 50 volunteers stuffed the bags at the beginning of August and Broad River Electric employees delivered them to the schools before the start of the year.
In Union County, Broad River Electric employees delivered at total of 950 book bags to Buffalo Elementary School, Foster Park Elementary School, Jonesville Elementary/ Middle School, Lockhart Schools, Monarch Elementary School, and the Town of Carlisle.
Each book bag included the following letter from the BREC:
We hope that this backpack proves useful to you throughout the school year. We encourage you to always carry within it determination and drive so that you achieve and succeed to your fullest capabilities.
This backpack is provided to you by Broad River Electric Charities. The supplies inside were donated by others who care about your future, like the Dollar General Distribution Center in Jonesville, participants of Jerusalem Project in Cherokee County, local churches from across the Upstate and many more.
All of us are committed to empowering communities and improving the quality of lives by supporting education.
BREC Member Services Coordinator Josh Crotzer said that the book bags and school supplies are a reflection of the commitment of the cooperative and the other groups that participated to education.
“Of all the ways we try and fulfill our commitment to the community, this may be the best thing we do,” Crotzer said. “The generosity of our members, the collaboration with the churches and businesses, and our employees taking the bags and supplies directly to the schools shows students that their cooperative and their community care about their education. We feel that is an important thing for them to know.”
Buffalo Elementary School received 200 book bags and Principal Melissa Inman thanked Broad River Electric for its generosity.
“Two hundred lucky children will be able to use the book bags donated by Broad River Electric,” Inman said Tuesday morning. “We would like to thank them for all of their efforts to make the start of the school year successful. A special thank you to Carol Smith, former PE teacher here at Buffalo, who helped out with this project.”
Foster Park Elementary School received 100 book bags and Principal Barbara Palmer said that a number of the book bags the school received have already been distributed to needy families.
“It was certainly helpful to the parents who needed a little extra help with supplies at the beginning of the school year,” Palmer said. “We took the book bags and added more supplies to them and distributed them to kids who needed them at the beginning of the year.”
Palmer added that that the school still has some of the book bags and will distribute them later in the year if needed.
“As book bags wear out during the school year we’re able to replace them,” Palmer said. “Parents are very appreciative of this.”
Jonesville Elementary/Middle School received 400 book bags and Principal Rene Pryor said that the school’s students are already putting many of them to good use.
“We’re very appreciative for such a generous gift,” Pryor said. “Thank you Broad River from the bottom of our hearts.
“A large portion of them already been given to our children,” she said. “They are already using them.”
Monarch Elementary School received 100 book bags and Principal Anita Maness said the donation is an example of the importance of community support for the schools and their students.
“We appreciate the support of Broad River Electric in providing the book bags and the supplies,” Maness said. “Without the support of the community our children would not have adequate supplies.”
Union County School District Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall also thanked BREC for its generosity.
“Union County Schools was thrilled to receive the backpacks stuffed with school supplies for our students in the elementary schools,” Woodall said. “They were larger book bags, which can assist with the load capacity needed for upper elementary students. Students need backpacks for the number of books and supplies they carry, but the cost of purchasing them can be a hardship on families. We appreciate the generosity of Board River and its partnership in keeping education a priority for the children of our town.”
In addition to the schools, Broad River Electric donated 50 book bags to the Town of Carlisle which distributed them through its annual Community Fun Day Cookout & Back to School Bash earlier this month.
For the past 11 years, Carlisle has held its Community Fun Day Cookout & Back To School Bash as a means of providing a day of family-oriented fun for the community while also helping prepare its children for the start of school.
That preparation included the town collecting and distributing the book bags and school supplies donated by private citizens, community groups, churches and businesses including Broad River Electric Cooperative.
Mayor Mary Ferguson-Glenn thanked Broad River Electric for its support of the Community Fun Day Cookout & Back to School Bash and its main goal of helping prepare the community’s children for the new school year.
“We so appreciate the donation that was made to us,” Ferguson-Glenn said. “Their donation contributed to our success this year.”
The town distributed a total of 200 book bags filled with school supplies including the 50 donated by Broad River Electric Cooperative.