The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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August 10, 2001 Issue
Special Section:
College/Back to School

Program helps students in need

By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor

Shopping for new school supplies is an exciting task for most children. They search store aisles looking for pencils, notebooks, folders, crayons and perhaps the perfect new outfit to wear on the first day. Thanks to the Service League of Green Bay with the support of several parishes from the Green Bay Diocese, 850 more children will enjoy the school shopping experience.

The Service League of Green Bay's Back to School Store provides children of low income families the opportunity to go "Back to School" shopping at no cost. At this one-day event, scheduled this year for Aug. 15 at Fort Howard School, Green Bay, children, accompanied by a volunteer shopper, receive a new set of clothing including shoes, socks, underwear, shirt and pants. They also select school supplies, a backpack and grooming items. Volunteer hairstylists provide free haircuts for those who would like them.

All items are provided by local businesses, individual donors, church groups and service clubs. Diocesan parishes participating in the 2001 Back to School Store program include St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Matthew, Resurrection, St. Mary of the Angels, St. Willebrord, St. Patrick, Nativity, Holy Martyrs of Gorcum, St. John the Evangelist, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and St. Bernard, all of Green Bay; St. Joseph, Oneida; St. John the Baptist, Howard; Holy Cross, Bay Settlement; St. Joseph at St. Norbert College, De Pere; and Our Lady of Lourdes, De Pere.

"It's fun for all the kids to be able to pick out what they need for school," said Bonnie Goelz, organizer of the Back To School Store collection at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. "Having that new outfit makes them feel special on the first day."

Goelz and parish volunteers created a giving board to encourage parish members to donate items.

"We asked people to take a tag with a specific item listed on it," explained Goelz "The response was excellent. We were able to fill all 400 tags."

One member gave a $100 anonymous donation, said Goelz. Monetary donations were applied to purchasing items to fill tags.

"We also had one individual who gave tops that she had embroidered, which I thought was a nice personal touch," said Goelz.

The Back to School Store began in 1993, and has grown each year to serve more children. The first store served 200 children. Every school district within Brown County refers children to the Back to School Store. The program serves the area's diverse population. Last year, more than 225 child shoppers came from families where English was not the primary language.

"There is such a need," said Goelz. "The program has grown to meet the increasing need. It is rewarding to see the kids' faces light up when they shop."

For more information on the Back to School Store, call (920)490-7444.

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1825 Riverside Drive | P.O. Box 23825 | Green Bay, WI 54305-3825
Phone: 920-437-7531 | Fax: 920-437-0694 | E-Mail: [email protected]