As the famous saying goes, it all starts with an idea, and in Stacey Kelley’s case, a compassionate observation.
The North Royalton mom astutely noticed something while volunteering more than a year ago at Royal Redeemer’s Food Pantry – patrons coming in with children were in dire need of school supplies.
“I immediately thought, ‘how can I help and what can I do on a larger scale?’” Kelley said.
Her kind-hearted thought blossomed into the inaugural “Supplying Success” program that kicks off July 12 and will collect school supplies at designated drop off locations throughout the city. The program, which will continue through Aug. 2, is in coordination with Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church and supported by the church and Royal Redeemer Lutheran School, Mayor Robert Stefanik, municipal leaders, the North Royalton City School District and the North Royalton PTA, according to information printed on the program’s introductory flyer.
To get her idea off the ground those many months ago, Kelley connected and talked with local resources who gave her advice and voiced support of her initiative.
“I really wanted the drive to be community-wide and not to sit at one particular organization,” she said. “It was so exciting to see the support given to me by the Mayor to City Council members to the Superintendent to Royal Redeemer to the PTAs at the schools. Our goal is to fulfill a child’s school supply need 100 percent and to give them everything they would need for the beginning of the school year.”
Supplying Success has a “Top 10 List” of requested donations that includes glue/glue sticks, four-packs of Expo Dry Erase Markers, index cards, supply pouches, highlighters, three-subject spiral notebooks, Composition Books, headphones/earbuds, the TI-34 multi-view calculator and three-ring binders in various sizes (1-inch, 1.5-inches and 2 inches).
Drop-off locations are still being determined, but Facebook users can check the ‘SupplyingSuccessNR’ social media page for up-to-date news and event information.
Kelley is also orchestrating special events during the three-week drive, like collection nights on July 12 and 15 at York Road Recreation Fields sponsored by North Royalton Baseball Boosters. Stay tuned for further information on the drive’s other featured events.
Residents may recall the “Operation NR Cares” annual school supply drive spearheaded by Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw and organized by the Office on Aging and Human Services. The charitable drive had a successful eight-year run and held its final collection event in 2017. Kelley said Supplying Success was not created to replace any other program but to fulfill a need not being supported within the community. Unlike “Operation NR Cares,” which required users to fill out an application at the Office on Aging and Human Services, provide proof of residency and show income tax documentation to determine level of assistance, Kelley said that “Supplying Success” is “on the honor system.”
“There is no financial stipulation to register and people don’t have to provide any financial records,” she said.
Kelley notes that though it may not be immediately apparent, the need for financial assistance is very real in North Royalton. Kelley learned last year that approximately 600 city school district students qualified for the free and reduced lunch program.
“I really think there are a lot of families who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and I feel that that 600 number I got a year ago has gone up,” she said. “I was talking with friends about what a great community we live in and we have great neighborhoods and you don’t necessarily see the need, but there actually are a lot of families who need help.”
Email to learn more about Supplying Success and to sign up, or call (440) 237-7958 Ext. 244. Interested volunteers or those looking for more tips on donating can also use the provided contact information. Kelley said she envisions a distribution day during which registered families can come to a location to pick up their supplies. When signing up for “Supplying Success,” parents will need to indicate their child’s grade level and school building, so they receive the correct and needed supplies.
Contributing Writer