School supply drive aims to equip kids to learn

      EUGENE, Ore. - Saint Vincent de Paul and Bi-Mart stores have teamed up again to get low-income kids the school supplies they need.

      The National Retail Federation said most families with K through 12 students will spend an average of $635 on school supplies and clothes.

      The back to school drive gets backpacks, pencils, paper and other supplies to the students free of charge.

      Managers said they handed out 2,000 backpacks last summer to families in need. They expect to do the same this month if enough donors buy new packpacks and supplies.

      "It means a whole lot because it's really hard for low-income families to be able to have everything ready for the kids to go to school," said Briana Ryker, one of the program's beneficiaries. "So it's a really big help to help get things ready."

      The drive kicked off Monday, August 5. Most of the backpacks and supplies will be given to kids by the end of the month.

      To donate, buy school supplies at Bi-Mart stores and drop the supplies in the specially marked bins. Store staff can help direct you to the bin.

      To receive a backpack, call St. Vincent de Paul at (541) 687-5820 to see if you qualify and sign up.