BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Lucas County Children Services collected money and school supply donations at Appliance Center in Maumee on July 27, partnering with Buckeye Broadband in hopes of filling backpacks for the new school year.
Area residents dropped off much-needed supplies for LCCS-affiliated children in grades K through 12 during the drive-thru fundraiser.
“These are kids who are going through the toughest time of their lives. Some may be living with a relative, some might be in foster care, but regardless, they’re all having challenges,” said LCCS director of communications and government relations Julie Malkin. “The last thing we want is for them to start the school year with anything less than a positive start. One of the ways we can do that is making sure they have all the school supplies they need.”
The goal of the drive-thru was to collect enough supplies and backpacks for 750 children. Monetary donations were also accepted during the fundraiser and were used to purchase additional supplies.
The supply drive took place during Appliance Center’s weekly Food Truck Wednesday event.
“We knew there would be traffic here. They have these food trucks, and we know people love food trucks,” said Kim Finch, community manager at Buckeye Broadband. “We knew there would be a little extra attention in this area today.”
The extra attention was able to bring in extra monetary donations, which are always needed for LCCS.
Friends of Lucas County Children Services, a separate nonprofit organization, also raises funds for the children and then uses that to buy additional supplies.
“We get a lot of monetary donations, so I go out and buy the weird stuff – combination locks or two-inch binders, things like that – that most people don’t think to donate,” said Friends of LCCS president Clare Armbruster.
For those who were unable to attend the supply drive, there are other ways to help. Monetary donations are still being accepted by Friends of LCCS. There is a donation link on the website, friendsoflccs.org, or donations can be made through the Cash App link on the group’s Facebook page. Checks can also be sent to Friends of LCCS at P.O. Box 441, Maumee, OH 43537.
“Any money that someone specifically donates with respect to school supplies, we will make sure it’s spent on school supplies,” Armbruster pledged.
In addition to the supply drive, Friends of LCCS regularly organizes other projects for the children, including holiday presents, birthday cupcakes and a Halloween event, open to all children, not just those in foster care or who are otherwise affiliated with LCCS.
It’s important, Armbruster said, to always support the kids throughout the year – from school to holidays and everything in between.
According to Malkin, those who want to help – outside of the supply drive, can make a difference any number of ways, but becoming a foster parent is one of the most impactful.
“That’s our No. 1 thing, we need foster parents,” Malkin said. “A couple years ago, we had well over 350, and now we’re down very close to 200. A lot of our foster parents have retired, so we desperately need foster parents.”
For more information on fostering or other ways to help, those interested can visit lucaskids.net.