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Groups team up to give away school supplies

Smart Start Rowan, Safe Kids Rowan and the Elks Lodge are working together to distribute free school supplies to the community.
The supplies are for pre-K and kindergarten students, and will be distributed Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 508 S. Main St. Safe Kids Rowan will also be on site to provide free car seat safety checks.
In August, Rich Penk, president of the Elks Lodge, received a grant from the national lodge in Chicago. There are five different grants available for each of the nearly 2,000 lodges. These may be directed toward youth, veterans or meeting community needs. Penk contacted Tracy Webb-Goodman, Smart Start Rowan executive assistant, with his good news and the two decided to plan an event that involved preschool age children.
Webb-Goodman, also a certified passenger safety technician for Safe Kids Rowan, wanted to incorporate car seat safety into the event, too. Thanks to the Elks grant, several car seats, booster seats and all the school/art supplies were purchased for the event.
Elks Lodge members and members of Safe Kids Rowan will be available to assist where needed. Members of the Antlers, a Junior Elks program for youth ages 13-20, will also be helping out.
“We do a whole lot of community service work and we have social gatherings,” says Ryan Penk, an Antler member. “It’s pretty fun.”
Parents who stop by the Elks Lodge on Saturday will also receive information about Smart Start Rowan’s Early Learning Resource Center, a place that’s chock full of books and other resources for parents of children ages birth to 5. The Elks Lodge will also have drug awareness information geared for teenagers and their parents.
“I want to get at least 200 school supply bags into the hands of 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds,” Webb-Goodman says. “I’m hoping that we have a great turnout.”
Webb-Goodman will take any leftover supplies to local schools. For more information about the school supplies giveaway, call Tracy Webb-Goodman at 704-630-9085.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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