By CHRIS MORRIS
The school year is a little different this year. Most area districts begin Aug. 1.
But the cost of getting a child ready for the upcoming school year has not changed. If anything, it’s higher to clothe a child this year than last.
“It takes a lot,” said Jeffersonville resident Christy Goodman. “It’s very expensive.”
The Salvation Army did its part Wednesday to help Goodman and several other parents preparing to send children back to school next week. On Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at its Clarksville thrift store along Little League Boulevard, the Army hosted its 23rd annual clothing giveaway.
Parents were allowed to pick out eight items which included shoes, pants, shirts and winter coats for each child. All they had to do was show identification, proof of address and the child’s birth certificate, or school enrollment document.
In the first hour Wednesday, 185 children had been helped, according to Roxanne Haley, business administrator with the Floyd County Salvation Army which serves six counties. She expected between 1,100 and 1,400 kids to be given clothing during the 12-hour event which was for residents in Clark, Floyd, Scott and Washington counties.
“We had 150 more down there this year,” Haley said. “This is just another program we do to help people in the community.”
Last year at the event, 1,176 students were helped with clothing and more than 400 received school supplies. Last week a similar giveaway was held in Harrison and Crawford counties.
“Right now there are just more families in need,” Haley said. “It takes a lot of money to send a child to school. There is clothing and back-to-school supplies.”
There were several volunteers on hand Wednesday to help parents maneuver through the racks of clothing and get them checked in and out quickly.
Both Haley and Sarah Applegate, manager of the Clarksville store, said the best of the clothing donations are set aside throughout the year in order to prepare for the back-to-school event.
“We have huge boxes upstairs that we put back-to-school clothes in,” Applegate said. “People look forward to it. They tell us if it wasn’t for this, they wouldn’t be able to get their children new school clothing.”
Goodman has been coming to the event for three years with her four children. She said getting the free clothing allows her to spend money on other necessities.
“I think this is really great. They have a lot of nice stuff,” she said.
Jennifer Haynes was not only picking out clothing for her two children, ages 4 and 6, but for herself as well since she is a college student finishing her nursing degree.
“This helps tremendously. Every little bit helps,” she said. “I am the only one working right now. I mean a coat can cost $15 or $20.”
Applegate said without the many volunteers it would be impossible to handle the number of people who were expected to come through the doors Wednesday.
“There is no way we could do it without them,” she said.