FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — For families that were set back during COVID-19 many purchases that were once painless have become difficult to make.
“We have seen increases in some of our services of 1,250% over the last three months,” said Fort Wayne Salvation Army Social Services Director Timothy Smith. “People are living paycheck to paycheck, some getting laid off, and all of a sudden they realize buying school supplies is going to be a problem.”
Tools for School is a Salvation Army program that provides Allen County families in need with the essential school supplies their children require to be successful in the classroom.
“We were a little confused if the campaign was going to happen or not because everyone was wondering if kids were going to go back to school,” Smith said. “We saw that yesterday and decided we need to pursue this and help those kids out who need it.”
The Tools for School campaign received the first round of school supply donations July 8, as well as a $2,500 donation from Sweetwater Sound.
“When they asked this year if we would be involved in the Tools for School campaign, it was kind of a no brainer,” said Sweetwater Sound Vice President of Corporate Communications Heather Herron. “We know that many families are struggling right now, and we know that those tools they need to be successful in school may be difficult to come by.”
Collection barrels will be set up throughout Fort Wayne through the end of July.
Smith said backpacks and hand sanitizer are two of the items they need most, and that they are asking for some supplies they haven’t needed in the past.
“Masks are definitely something we are going to be asking for because that is going to be a requirement,” Smith said. “Every item counts and we just want to make sure these kids go back to school with the tools they need to succeed.”