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Groups pitch in to provide school supplies

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By Tom Wilmoth

    Volunteers from area businesses and local organizations packed a meeting room in the county administration building Thursday with one goal in mind—packing bags full of school supplies for students set to start school this week.

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    In all, the Pack the Bag effort yielded some 200 book bags and supplies that were delivered to area schools in time for the first day of school Monday, according to Denise Kennedy, a social worker with the Department of Social Services.
    Many of the supplies were donated during a Pack the Bus effort last Wednesday at the Bedford Wal-Mart. Those supplies were unloaded in time for the volunteers to sort them and put them in the proper bags.
    Armed with school lists, volunteers went around the room filling the backpacks with the proper materials the students needed.
    Applications to receive the supplies were received this summer through DSS; everyone who applied got approved, according to Kennedy. There were some 300 applications and Big Island Baptist Church and Lake Christian Ministries took a third of those.
    In addition to the  Pack  the Bus effort, area churches took up donations. Business groups were also involved. The Bedford Business Leads Group of the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce provided both funds and volunteers for the effort. Other civic groups also helped, including the Women of the Moose and Bedford Professional Women. County social workers, probation and parole workers and school board office employees also helped.
    “I thought it was a good success this year,” stated Kennedy of the effort, noting the economy. “I thought it went wonderful with the amount of supplies and the amount of applicants we had.”
    Scott Fogleman of Keller Williams Realty was among those helping pack up supplies from the Bedford Leads Group. Fogleman said while the group had raised money for the effort in the past, this year members also wanted to help pack the supplies up.
    “It seems like a great way to help out,” he said. The group raised more than $650, in addition to providing the manpower.