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Stocking students with supplies

Bob Morehead

Herald Staff Writer

Barberton native and community activist Paula Kallio is the first to admit she has a habit of looking for problems to solve. It’s her nature, she says.

The latest is supplying the city’s grade school kids.

“We’re just starting to come out of a two-year pandemic,” Kallio said. “Now we’re being hit with high inflation. And this is a significant expense.”

The expense is the list of things each pupil is expected to bring with them when classes start in the fall. 

Barberton Primary (grades K-2) asks each child to bring:

• Four boxes of crayons

• Eight glue sticks

• Two dozen No. 2 pencils

• One pair of rounded scissors

• One yellow highlighter

• Four black fine-point dry erase markers (eight for second grade)

• Four pocket folders with prongs – red, yellow, green and blue (only one red for first grade)

• One 1-inch three-ring binder

• One plastic school box

• A set of headphones

Intermediate School (grades 3-5) asks for each kid to come equipped with:

• Two boxes of crayons (grades 3 and 4 only)

• Six glue sticks (again, grades 3 and 4)

• One bottle of Elmer’s School Glue

• One pair of scissors

• One yellow highlighter

• Four black dry erase markers

• Four dozen No. 2 pencils.

• Four pocket folders – red, yellow, green and blue

• Four wide-ruled spiral notebooks – red, yellow, green and blue

• One 1-inch three-ring binder

• One zippered supply pouch; no school boxes

• A set of earbuds or headphones

• One pack of 3X3 sticky notes

• One box of colored pencils

• One box of Crayola markers (grades 3 and 4 only)

• A handheld pencil sharpener

In addition, teachers at both schools are grateful when kids bring in facial tissue, sanitizing wipes and gallon and sandwich size ziploc bags.

Kallio formed a committee, teaming up with likeminded folks Kathy Maybin, Kathy Harnden and Kim Liddle, along with school district administrative assistant Mary Lou Woodford and Summit County Councilwoman Bethany McKenney.

“Our goal is to raise $20,000,” Kallio told The Herald.

The store having just opened at Magic City Plaza, Kallio approached Marc’s with the list and the chain promised to supply everything on it at their own cost. Kallio’s $20,000 will fill 1,500 bags of supplies, which will leave around 50 extra at each school for late transfers.

Multiple drives, like “Stuff the Bus” or “Cram the Cruiser” put together backpacks for disadvantaged kids but are disadvantaged in missing some items from the list. Kallio is reaching out to the churches and other civic groups that run these campaigns and asking them to donate the cash to her committee, instead. “We Are All Magics Ready To Learn” has its own fund at the Barberton Community Foundation. Anything left over will roll over to do it all again next year. 

“We’re giving to all the kids because the other way, other kids notice and say, ‘Gee, I didn’t know so-and-so was poor,’” Kallio said. “This eliminates all that. Everyone gets a pack.”

An anonymous donor has already chipped in $5,000, the Foundation has granted $2,000 and the Chamber of Commerce another $1,000, putting them just short of halfway there before the campaign even kicked off officially.

After they’ve raised the money, Marc’s will drop off the totes of supplies at the high school, where the committee and other volunteers will pack the bags,

“Then we’ll have a big event there with the Esther Ryan Shoe Fund and local services,” Kallio said. “It’ll be a one-stop shop.”

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