BRYANT, Ark (KTHV) -- The PTO for Salem Elementary School in Bryant is taking school shopping to a whole new level--they've purchased all the supplies the students need this year!
"Our community deserves it. Our kids deserve it." says Principal Mark Scarlett. The idea came to him last year when he saw a mother in a store choose between buying food or school supplies. It took one mention to the parent teacher organization ...then the magic started.
"So the PTO-- a little stressful--we took it and ran with it. And we did fundraisers. We sold coupon books, we did car drives! we did raffles! We did dances. We ended up raising $12,000!"
says Erica McGowan, the vice president for the Salem Elementary PTO.
Thursday she visits the storage unit in Bryant where they've stored the supplies the past few months.
"We've got like the ziplocs and the pencil bags." she says.
Notebooks, highlighters, crayons, even silly bands--1,000s of dollars worth of supplies ready for the 600 students to put to good use!
"To buy school supplies you're talking $75-100 JUST to buy the school supplies. That doesn't include backpacks and shoes and clothes. It's really a strain on our parents so this going to take a big burden off of them!"
The community and local businesses chipped in to make this such a success for the school. McGowan says parents kept their eye out for good deals everywhere.
"We did a lot of bargain shopping!" she say.
A few minutes later, Ethan Baldwin is at the Salem Elementary school office when we visit. He's going into the 5th grade. A man of few words--but he knows two things: his favorite school supply--pencils and that he's NOT going shopping for supplies this year.
"It's pretty cool!" he says.
"This is a no-worry thing for parents. They just walk in the door. It's done. They never even have to see it. They never even have to deal with it!"
"We do have a lot of kids that really need this." says McGowan.
School starts August 20 for the Bryant School District.