Several organizations are teaming up to ensure students in Union, Ada, Adair and Union counties are ready to go back to school.
One In Christ ecumencial group, MATURA and the Iowa Child Welfare Decategorization Project (Decat) have banded together to provide more than 450 supply-filled backpacks for students in need.
Jocelyn Blazek, Decat and Community Partnerships for Protecting Children coordinator, said the supplies are a huge relief for local families.
“Rural Iowa is small, has very few resources and high rates of poverty, which increase the risk of children being more prone to being victims of abuse or entering the child welfare system,” said Blazek. “This is just one of the ways we try to reduce some of those stressors that families might have, especially at this time of year. Going back to school can be very expensive and, for a lot of families with limited resources, that can cause some unneeded stress.”
During the 2018-2019 school year, more than 69% of Creston Elementary students qualified for the state's free or reduced lunch program. More than 63% and nearly 49% of students at Creston middle and high schools, respectively, also qualify.
"That's the kind of statistic we're working off of. We want to serve at-risk families and if 70% of your families qualify for free or reduce lunch, we have a pretty high at-risk population," said Blazek. "So that's the goal – help with those financial stressors, work with those families and give them a break at this time of year."
Supplies and backpacks are available free of charge for children in preschool through 12th grade Monday, Wednesday and Friday at MATURA'S Union and Adair outreach centers. Call for an appointment.
• Adams County Outreach Center, 1609 Quincy, Suite 3, Corning, 641-743-2424.
• Union County Outreach Center, 207B N. Elm St., Creston, 641-782-8431.
The Adair County Outreach Center is open Monday through Friday by appointment.
• Adair County Outreach Center, 354 Public Square, Greenfield. 641-743-2424.
For more information, visit www.iowacommunityaction.org.