Sheriff’s Office delivers school essentials

Published 6:27 pm Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Suffolk Sheriff’s Office brought more than $1,000 worth of donated school supplies to Elephant’s Fork and Booker T. Washington Elementary Schools on Tuesday morning to help prepare both schools for the first day of classes on Sept. 4.

Sheriff’s deputies collected donations at the Walmart on North Main Street from 8 a.m. to noon on Aug. 3. Generous citizens dropped off $1,500 worth of school supplies, which were split between the two elementary schools on Tuesday, Sheriff E.C. Harris said.

Bags filled with colorful backpacks, spiral notebooks, glue sticks, crayons, pencils, hand sanitizer and other essentials were brought to Elephant’s Fork Elementary School Principal Jessica Avery, who explained that many students start school each year with little or no school supplies.

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Parents and teachers then spend money throughout the school year for supplies. Avery said she spent $600 of Suffolk Public School funds at the end of last school year on composition books alone for this year.

“This is saving the parents lots of money,” she said.

Suffolk’s Sheriff’s Office is a Partner-In-Education with Elephant’s Fork Elementary School and regularly supports the school. Harris and his team agreed that efforts like these are necessary to engage children and make a difference.

“If we don’t engage our youth, we’re not going to make a change in the city of Suffolk and we’re not going to make a change in the country. It’s as simple as that,” Harris said as he referred to the violence and woes that are reported on across the country. “Somebody has to get in there at an early stage and start making some changes.

“I sit back and I think ‘where are we going?’ Where are we going to be 20 years from now? I just can’t get my mind wrapped around it. If we don’t engage our youth now, where are we going to be?”

Students at the school make cards for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day that deputies will deliver to the residents of the Autumn Care of Suffolk nursing and rehabilitation center on Pruden Boulevard. They also meet with the students during school hours for tutoring.

Harris saw what this does for the children during the graduation ceremony held in July for the LEAP elementary summer school program. The students watched a montage from this year’s program and cheered every time they recognized someone in uniform.

“It hit home to me that we are making some impact with these kids,” he said