Livingston Parish community launches 20th annual program to provide local students with school supplies

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Assess the Need volunteers form an assembly line at the Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center’s Automotive Center to load supplies into a pickup truck to be delivered to a local school. Pictured, from left to right, are Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor, and volunteers Krysta Watts, Media Sibley, Tara Elliott, Chuck Waters and Linda Barker. In the background is volunteer Tony Wilson.

LIVINGSTON, La (BrProud) — Members of the Livingston Parish community launched the Livingston Parish School Supply Program’s ‘ASSESS THE NEED’ campaign to provide school supplies for students in Livingston Parish for the new school year.

In its 20th year, the not-for-profit organization has consistently provided supplies to needy students, This year’s campaign has been strained by the health and economic concerns caused by COVID-19.

“Many of our families and local businesses have been directly impacted this year by the Coronavirus, which has created an added struggle to what can already be a challenging time for parents and grandparents to finance their children’s needs to go back to school,” Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor said.

Assess the Need volunteer Linda Barker stacks boxes of school supplies in the back of a teacher’s SUV to be delivered to a local school. Helping Barker load the boxes is volunteer Krysta Watts, who is pictured in the background.

According to the program, nearly 3,000 of the 26,000 students in LPS are in need of assistance. These students be will be provided school supplies.

“By helping struggling families receive the school supplies their children need, they can prioritize their limited resources on food and clothing,” Taylor said. “Our program is working with our local schools to make sure that every student has the tools he or she needs to learn and succeed – whether that’s in a traditional classroom setting or in this new virtual environment.”

COVID-19 has caused the campaign to rely on new strategies to raise needed funds for the program, according to Taylor.

Assess the Need volunteer Amber Cunningham holds a sign to instruct donors how to give to this year’s school supply program by focusing the camera app on their cell phones on the QR codes to directly link to a Venmo or PayPal pay portal. Also pictured at the donor table is volunteer Garret Childers.

“Not being able to hold events or have face-to-face meetings has meant we must rely on the goodwill of our donors to seek us out,” Taylor said.

‘ASSESS THE NEED’ signs have been posted in several area businesses such as Carter’s Grocery Stores in Denham Springs, Livingston, Albany, Springfield, and Walker; Oak Point Fresh Market in Watson, the Neighborhood WalMart in Denham Springs, Big Mike’s Grill in Denham Springs, and Sombrero’s in Walker.

The signs are equipped with QR codes allowing donors to use the camera apps on their cell phones to connect directly to a pay portal on Venmo or PayPal. links to those digital pay portals are available at www.AssesstheNeed.com. Donations also can be mailed to Assess the Need, P. O. Box 1802, Denham Springs, LA 70727.

Assess the Need volunteers form an assembly line at the Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center’s Automotive Center to load supplies into a pickup truck to be delivered to a local school. Pictured, from left to right, are Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor, and volunteers Krysta Watts, Media Sibley, Tara Elliott, Chuck Waters and Linda Barker. In the background is volunteer Tony Wilson.

Taylor said the supplies are being distributed to all parish schools before the first day of class on Friday, Aug. 7. “It’s important that our students begin the school year on a positive chord, especially given the circumstances of this year. We believe a strong start can set the tone for the rest of the school year,” Taylor said. “We want to send the message that each child matters.”

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