Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosley inspects a box of school supplies at the Riverdale Walmart. The supplies will be distributed to about 500 deserving Clayton County students.
RIVERDALE — Paper, pencils, rulers, glue sticks, binders, notebooks, tissues and bottles of hand sanitizer will be handed out to about 500 Clayton County students July 28, giving them what they need to start school — except an apple for the teacher.
For the third year in a row, Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosley is spearheading a back-to-school supplies drive for deserving students. About $7,000 from add-on fees from the Pre-Trial Intervention program is funding the drive.
Armed with lists from the Clayton County school system, Mosley and staffers Chief Investigator Milton Cox and Meg Cauchy, and Eloise Archibald from the Order of the Eastern Star rambled through the Riverdale Walmart early Wednesday morning looking through dozens of boxes of supplies. They were joined briefly by Deputy Superintendent Stefanie Phillips, and Superintendent Dr. Ed Heatley, who offered some advice.
“The teachers for the younger grades would like the black and white composition notebooks instead of the spiral notebooks,” he told Mosley.
“Because the kids will take the pieces after tearing out the paper and throw them at each other. And colored pencils are always good.”
Heatley said he was thankful to have the support of Mosley’s office and the community. He said being suitably-equipped for school boosts a student’s confidence.
“This helps level the playing field,” he said. “They don’t have to feel inferior. For a young person to say that he’s got what he needs to learn, to come to school prepared on day one, prepared to learn, that’s a formula that can’t go wrong.”
Phillips thanked Walmart and the Order of the Eastern Star for their participation in the drive. The OES is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women can belong. Archibald is the matron for Stockbridge District 17.
“This chapter is here to help our community,” said Archibald. “That’s all we do, charity work. Helping someone else less fortunate than yourself is a great feeling.”
Heatley said he was glad to hear that.
“I always encourage everyone to support the kids,” he said. “We have 51,257 young people in our district. If we don’t take care of those 51,257 students, who will take care of the 300,000 living in our community? No one would. We’ve got to protect the babies and the babies will grow up to protect the community. That’s the power of what’s going on today.”
“You’re supposed to give back,” she said. “Every morning you get up and you’re not underground, that’s a good day. This is my blessing. I’ve got my health, family and friends. If a kid stays in school, he’s not coming to the courthouse. I don’t like seeing munchkins in the courthouse.”
Nearly 200 bags filled with school supplies will be given to grandparents raising grandchildren.
“Because they are family, the kids are kept out of the (welfare) system,” said Mosley. “They are not eligible for assistance. We’ve got 70-year-olds going back to work to take care of their grandkids.”
Any leftover supplies will be handed out during Chick-fil-A’s fifth annual back-to-school drive Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro.