Christmas in July for students in need
BRISTOL, Va. - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas for some students in Bristol, Va.
That's thanks to the group Communities in Schools.
The organization is putting together a "Christmas in July" drive.
It's gathering clothing to donate to 250 students who can't afford back to school shopping.
"What we're trying to do is to make sure that some of our students who are the most needy have some new clothes when they come back to school... we try to give two shirts, two pairs of pants, a pack of underwear and a pack of socks to each student who needs it." Explained the Superintendent of Bristol, Va schools, Dr. Keith Perrigan.
According to Communities in Schools, in 2015, 35% of the population of Bristol, Va. under the age of 18 was in poverty.
And in 2016, almost 75% of students needed free or reduced lunches.
That's why Christmas in July is so important.
"It does level the playing field and it gives those students [in need] an opportunity to come in with some new supplies that they wouldn't have gotten, and it really just helps the student make that transition to school starting." Said the Virginia Middle School Principal, Jason Matlock.
Students sponsored by the drive are not identified by name, but by a number on a form.
"Our teachers, our guidance counselors or principals, other folks that work in the building, make recommendations to Communities in Schools and from that point we send an application home and when the application is turned in, Communities in Schools make sure that student is taken care of." Dr. Perrigan said.
If you would like to sponsor a student, you can shop for the items yourself or write a check.
All donations should be delivered to the Bristol Virginia Schools' board office by July 25th.
Students in Tazewell County are also benefiting from the Christmas in July drive.
You can learn more on the Communities in Schools website.