Giving kids the best start
AS THOUGH Christmas didn't hit the bank account hard enough, many families in the Lockyer will soon be facing the back- to-school preparations with dread.
School uniforms, stationery and backpacks can add up to an impossibly high sum and cause severe financial strain on some of the more vulnerable members of our community.
This year, staff at the Lockyer Neighbourhood and Information Centre have joined with NewsExpress Gatton and Shoe Collections to ease the burden on those families by inviting donations of small but crucial back-to-school supplies.
Program coordinator Linda Roberts said some were looking at back-to-school bills totalling more than $350.
"We're hoping to make a difference firstly in terms of taking some pressure off families,” she said.
"Another part of it is potentially overcoming some of the bullying and ostracisation of kids at school who don't have the necessities.
"It's such a hard time for so many people because you can't avoid it - the kids have got to go to school.”
NewsXpress owners Vicky and Darryl Spicer initially approached the community centre with their idea to lend a hand to cash-strapped families.
"We noticed people struggling to make their back-to-school list and thought we'd try out this idea,” Ms Spicer said.
"People can drop in some erasers or books or pencils... Or a voucher from Shoe Collections for uniforms.
"We don't want any child missing out.”
The couple said though it was too early for the pre-semester rush, they've been pleased with the community's support.
"We've had a great response so far,” Darryl said.
"Whenever people ask what the (supply drive) is about and we tell them, they'll come back with two to three things or a few dollars worth and drop it in.
"Every little bit helps.”
Ms Roberts also thanked Agricultural Requirements for the collection cage.
Donations are welcomed at NewsXpress Gatton until mid-January.