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School Supply, Immunization Drive a Success
School Supply, Immunization Drive a Success
Posted on 08/13/2020
An Eblen Charities volunteer hands out school supplies.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Even during a pandemic, the community has worked together to make sure students have what they need for the new school year.

After the successful Tools for Schools supply drive last Wednesday, Eblen Charities distributed prepackaged school supplies – like notebooks, index cards, book bags, and hand sanitizer – to families at the nonprofit’s Westgate Shopping Center warehouse. Ingles Markets pharmacists set up to provide flu vaccines and help parents/guardians schedule other vaccines their children. Most years, families line up to “shop” for the school supplies they need inside the warehouse. To protect them and Eblen’s volunteers, the supplies were presorted by grade level and distributed by appointment only this year.

“We had to do things differently, but it’s working like a well-oiled machine,” said Eblen Charities Executive Director Robin Boettcher. “It’s easier on the families. They don’t have to stand and wait in long lines.”

Even though schools will have strong virtual components this year, Ms. Boettcher pointed out that children still need school supplies to do their schoolwork at home.

“That’s why it’s important to continue this program even though things are a little different this year,” she said.

As volunteers handed out paper Ingles grocery bags stuffed with supplies, Ingles pharmacist Allison Tuell and her colleagues waited behind a table to provide consultations about required school vaccines and to administer flu vaccines to those who wanted them.

“Combining trips is really important this year, so it’s really valuable for families to be able to get these school supplies and vaccine information in one trip,” she said. “This is a perfect time for us to educate the community.”

Tools for Schools distributes school supplies to more than 1,400 children annually thanks to the combined efforts of Eblen Charities, Ingles Markets, WLOS, Asheville Citizen Times, iHeartMedia, Wilsonart, and First Baptist Church Asheville.

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