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'We have more to give': Salvation Army hands out free school supplies

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Posted at 10:36 PM, Jul 09, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — On Tuesday, The Salvation Army of Indiana in Fountain Square opened its doors offering parents and students backpacks, shoes, school supplies, and uniforms to help families prepare for the new year.

The giveaway comes as summer vacations begin to fizzle out.

"My summer was good. I got to see my friends and then I got hang around like people,” Neveah Woosley, a rising 7th grader said.

Back-to-school is right around the corner.

"I can't wait for to get to go back to school,” Michael Woosley, a rising 5th grader said.

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"Learning how to do different math and to see my friends I haven't seen for a while,” Neveah said.

It's a fresh start, that can be tough for some parents.

"I'm realizing, if something doesn't change with my income or the way things are it's going to become harder and harder to make certain they have the same quality of life that I had,” Charles Warren said.

Warren attended The Salvation Army school supplies giveaway to get his rising first grader ready for the new year.

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"I'm still in school. This has been a blessing. It's been a blessing. I at one point what some would think of as kind of upper echelons of the middle class and then I went a year without employment. I'm here and I'm thankful,” Warren said.

Charles isn't the only parent preparing financially for going back to school.

In 2023, families spent an average of $890 on back-to-school necessities,according to The National Retail Federation.

This year, experts predict the average will be even higher.

"You don't always realize that something as simple as a backpack, or a pair of shoes does,” Major Malinda O’Neil with The Salvation Army said.

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O'Neil told WRTV’s Amber Grigley they prepared to hand out more than 400 backpacks and with the help of Shoe Carnival at least 200 pairs of shoes.

"When parents are struggling and wondering how we are going to make it all come together. Those little things can alleviate a lot of stress,” O’Neil said.

"I'm thankful that I have got today. It's really helpful for people who can't afford a lot of things,” Neveah said.

"I remember as a kid how important it was to feel comfortable. They are helping these children feel comfortable at school,” Warren said.

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The Salvation Army says they only handed out about 85 percent of the backpacks and supplies, meaning they still have more to give.

If you missed out, they encourage families to reach out to their Fountain Square Community Center at 1337 Shelby Street to grab supplies.