Charlotte firefighters collecting school supplies for students in need

The Charlotte Fire Department is helping prepare students for the upcoming school year. The fire department will open up its doors and collect school supplies for students in need for WSOC-TV’s 9 School Tools program.

“The Charlotte fire department is a community-based fire department, and we engage in all levels, not just emergency services prevention and other core missions,” Johnson said. “We are based in the community and want to be able to help out in any way we can.”

Since 1997, in partnership with Classroom Central and Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the WSOC-TV 9 School Tools program has collected school supplies, which are then distributed free to students in grades K-12.

Covering 22 counties, 9 School Tools is the largest school supply drive in the Carolinas and will run now through August 31.

“Kids are our future, and we need to engage them young to make sure they’re on the right path and they’ll be productive members of our society,” Johnson said.

Over the past several years, Charlotte fire stations have turned into donation drop-off spots for community initiatives.

In December, the fire department helped collect nearly 30,000 coats for the WSOC-TV Steve’s Coats for Kids program.

“What we normally do is provide emergency services when called, but we do engage the community in many ways and this gives us another opportunity,” he said.

Firefighters gathered at the fire department’s distribution center and applied 9 School Tools posters to the collection bins that were delivered to the fire stations.

“We have 43 fire stations, and they are located in a number of neighborhoods throughout the city,” Johnson said. “It should be easy for anyone to just drop by and drop off the donated goods and have a conversation with any other firefighters.”

According to Classroom Central, about 127,000 children in the Charlotte region lack the basic school supplies they need to be successful in school.

With a difficult past year and the economic downturn, families will find it even more difficult to access supplies for their kids to complete their school year and not fall behind.

Many of the more vulnerable and low-income families depend on Classroom Central for assistance.

“People give whatever you can give whatever’s in your heart,” Johnson said. “Even if it’s an eraser, a pack of pencils, those will be sent to good use at Classroom Central and will help out students in need.”

You can donate the school supplies at any Arby’s, Ashley HomeStore, E.R. Plumbing Services and Charlotte Fire Department stations.

CLICK HERE TO FIND A DONATION LOCATION NEAR YOU.

Financial donations can also be made to the 9 School Tools program at different levels of giving that support Classroom Central.

For example:

· A donation of $9 will help provide homework supplies for students.

· A donation of $25 will help fill a student’s backpack with school supplies.

· A donation of $50 will supply a teacher with essential school items.

· A donation of $100 will supply an entire class with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) kits.

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A FINANCIAL DONATION TO CLASSROOM CENTRAL AND 9 SCHOOL TOOLS.

Learn more about 9 School Tools at www.9SchoolTools.com.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager at WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.