RENO, NV - The first day of school can be a scary time - new place, new people and new challenges.
For many students a bright new outfit and fresh supplies provide a confidence boost to make the experience easier.
Unfortunately, for a growing number of Washoe County students, there are no supplies.
There is only the fear of being judged by their peers waiting for them in the classroom.
The Salvation Army hopes to ease their anxiety by providing back packs filled with the items they need for that first day.
“I really can’t afford it,” says Kristie Zmak “I’m on unemployment.”
After losing her job more than a year ago Zmak says there’s hardly enough money for rent and food.
She says the supplies she gets from the Salvation Army are a real blessing.
“We called one mother who was on the waiting list,” explains Major Janene Zielinski of the Reno Salvation Army, “she didn’t have a car, so she ran down here. She said when we called she was going through her junk drawer for pencil stubs, so that she could send her kids back to school. She didn’t know what she was going to do.”
The backpacks are filled with the usual supplies plus new clothes, toiletries, snacks and a gift certificate for shoes.
More than 500 kids will get back-to-school backpacks through the program this year.
That’s more than double the number of kids who needed help last year.
School starts soon and the Salvation Army is hoping to help all children in our community start the year with confidence and the items they need to learn, but already supplies are running low.
You can help out by donating packages of new socks or underwear for teens.
Donations of cash can also be made over the phone at (775) 688-4555 extension 200.
They can also be made in person at the Salvation Army, 1931 Sutro Street, Reno.