GR neighborhood group collecting back-to-school supplies for Harrison Park Elementary

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 22:38:01-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- We still have a few weeks left of summer, but it’s time to start thinking about getting those kids ready to go back to school.

A group on Grand Rapids' West Side is working to make sure every student at one elementary school is ready.

The idea came from a parent of students at Harrison Park Elementary in Grand Rapids, and it took off from there. They’ve even secured an organization that will match everything they collect; now they just need the community’s help to make sure every student goes back to school with what they need.

“We are collecting school supplies for our Harrison Park kids and their families. We’re doing this in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids, Hope Network's  Side By Side program - and it was actually an idea that was done by our vice president, Tennille Harkness,” said Annette Vandenberg, executive director of the West Grand Neighborhood Organization.

“This is a very good opportunity to help the teachers, and help the children and help the families on the West Side at Harrison Park,” said Tennille Harkness.

Tennille has two daughters at Harrison Park, and the group is working on collecting supplies before the school year starts.

They’re collecting school supplies, backpacks, and donations, and they also need volunteers to help with the drive.

“A lot of teachers are buying things, funding is kind of slim. Usually you run out of funds to provide for school supplies very quickly,” said Chi Benedict, Crime Prevention Organizer with the West Grand Neighborhood. “Anything we call can do together to make this happen is just one more way we show how much we appreciate our educational staff.”

They have a goal of $2,500 in supplies, donations, uniforms and volunteer hours which will then be matched by the Hope Network Neighborhood Match fund.

“I think the kids get a kick out of having a new backpack. They have school supplies. Some of the things they don’t even use, but they will eventually use, and it will help in the next grade,” said Harkness. “It’s all about the kids and the families, and we all need to work together as a community and support the children. And the neighborhood match fund will support you, if it’s for the kids and for the families.”

They’re being collected through August 10, but they’ll still accept more through the school year.

To learn more information and find out where you can drop of supplies click here.