Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Spring Branch Community Rallies for School Supply Drive

by Annette Baird / Chronicle - Memorial Community Extra

Thousands of low-income students in Spring Branch Independent School District will start the school year off with confidence thanks to the district's education foundation's school supply drive, which was in danger of being suspended this year because of a drop in donations.

Spring Branch Education Foundation board members and the community rallied to raise the $25,000 to pay for new supplies for those students in the district who qualify for free and reduced meals.

"I had no idea when we proposed suspending it for a year how much this meant to our board and our community to continue this - because our kids really need this," said Cece Thompson, the foundation's executive director.

Patty Busmire, a foundation board member who has led the drive since its inception nine years ago, said funding had dropped significantly this year and proposed rolling what they had for next year's effort.

"When I presented it to the board, our board members stepped up and said, 'We can't let this happen,' " Busmire said.

Busmire left that presentation, held in May, with generous donations from individual board members, a corporate match and then went on to raise more on the crowd source funding website Pledgecents.

"We are thrilled to have broad community support," she said.

Busmire said they never know from one year to the next where funding will come from, but they have always managed to raise the money.

She said this year was different.

"We've seen across the board that fundraising has been a little less stable than before," said Busmire, indicating that the price of oil could be a factor.

About 55 percent of the more than 35,000 students in the district are from low income families and receive free or reduced lunch, said Linda Buchman, the district's community relations office and a foundation board member.

She said as well as the foundation's efforts to provide school supplies packages to needy students from kindergarten to 12th grade at the start of each school year, other organizations, including Spring Branch Family Development Center and Memorial Assistance Ministries, help out.

Buchman said not only do the free school supplies make a difference for individual students, they also make a difference to the schools, because they don't have to use their own much needed resources to provide additional supplies.

"A lot of these kids absolutely don't have any means to buy these supplies," Buchman said.

"By providing these supplies it makes a difference for the entire school year - they are able to walk in with confidence and have all the materials from the first day to be able to learn."

Thompson said the drive fit perfectly with their mission, which is to enhance the quality of education for district students.

"What better way to do that than put supplies in the hands of kids who can't afford them," Thompson said.

"It's the perfect project and fundraising effort for us to provide those needed supplies."

The foundation is still accepting donations for the school supply drive. To make a donation, visit

Packaging of school supplies is scheduled for Aug. 10 and 11.

To volunteer or for more information, email Busmire at


Post a Comment

Do you have feedback? Tell us.