Shared from the 2018-08-04 Mon Valley Independent eEdition

School supplies drive in Charleroi

Board member Thomas Nutting was inspired by a former student in Uniontown.

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Charleroi Area School Board member Thomas Nutting shows off some of the supplies he has collected for the start of the new school year.

Wayne Ray / For the

Mon Valley Independent

A Charleroi Area School Board member is on a mission to show that Cougars care.

Thomas Nutting is spearheading a backpack drive to make sure Charleroi students start off the school year on the right foot.

Nutting got the idea from a Facebook post by one of his former Uniontown Area students.

Nutting spent 34 years in the Union-town Area School District before retiring in 2004.

After a 10-year hiatus, he decided to get back into the classroom and now teaches Spanish two days a week at St. Sebastian School in Belle Vernon.

He reached out to the community on social media two weeks ago and has received boxes of donations so far.

“I was truly motivated by my former student and thought that we could definitely do this at Charleroi,” he said. “It really has blown up, but we are still wanting to do more.”

So far he has received at least 19 backpacks and so many boxes of supplies, he said his living room is starting to resemble a warehouse — in a good way.

“It is really catching on, but the sky is the limit,” Nutting said. “I would really love to pack at least 100, and with extra help from the community I know we can get there. We are on our way.”

All types of backpacks and school supplies will be accepted, including stationery, notebooks, crayons, markers, colored pencils, binders, loose leaf paper and pens.

He is encouraging people to remember the older students as well when compiling donations.

“When people think about donating school supplies, a lot of times they are focused on elementary-age children,” he said. “But 50 percent of our student body is economically disadvantaged and 60 percent are on free and reduced lunch. That is the entire district, not just the elementary center, so there really is a great need in all grade levels.”

Nutting said sometimes such statistics come as a shock.

“Those are startling numbers, but it is the reality,” he said. “There are children of all grades and ages that can’t afford $100 in school supplies and buy new clothes and tennis shoes. So the need is there.”

After speaking with teachers at the middle and high schools, Nutting said there is a great need for binders and loose leaf paper for older grades.

Donations can be arranged for pickup or they can be dropped off to Nutting or at the Charleroi Area School District administration office.

Nutting will be accepting donations during his birthday party Aug. 17 at Smitty’s restaurant. He is hoping a backpack drive, set for 9 a.m. Aug. 20 at Mary Mother of the Church social hall in Charleroi, will allow all backpacks to be filled before school starts Aug. 24.

Donations will be accepted at the drive, but volunteers will also be needed to help fill donated backpacks.

“I am so thankful for all of the donations and support we have already received and know that we will be able to reach our goal for the Cougars,” Nutting said.

For more information call Nutting at 724-963-5331 or contact him on Face-book.

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