Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–This year, going back to school will present new challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of what the school year looks like, students in all grades will still need supplies to help them learn effectively. Community Action of Eastern Iowa wants to remove the challenge of affording school supplies for families in need. Though their 2020 school supply assistance will look different than in years past, the support they offer will continue to ensure students have the tools to learn and succeed.

For more than 25 years, Community Action has accepted school supply donations and distributed them to children in need across Muscatine county and beyond. This year, they have revamped their assistance. Executive Directer Roger Pavey explained: “Due to COVID-19, we are not distributing supplies this year – we are awarding gift cards for families to buy their own supplies. If a family qualifies, we will mail a $25 Walmart gift card to each K-12 child in the home.”

So far, Community Action has provided 562 gift cards to students in need of supply assistance. They continue to accept applications and hope more families will reach out to them. “Supporting children and families with education is a way for all of us to invest in the lives of our youngest citizens,” emphasized Pavey.

Although Community Action did receive Community Services Block Grant Funding from the Iowa Department of Human Rights, donations from businesses and individuals do help them extend the reach of their program to even more area children. “We are also fortunate to have excellent community partners like HNI, (who) donated $1,000 to this initiative,” Pavey stated. If you would like to help Community Action fund their school supply gift cards, you may donate through their website or by mailing them a check to their regional headquarters at 500 East 59th Street, Davenport, IA 52807. In either case, please designate you would like the money to go to their school supply fund. You may also request the money go to purchasing supplies specifically for Muscatine County or for Community Action’s whole eastern region.

Though COVID-19 has created financial strain for many families, Community Action hopes that their school supply program will help make the transition back to school easier for families in need. “We want every child to be ready to return to learning, no matter what format it takes this fall,” said Pavey. He also hopes that even though families will not have the opportunity to select supplies from the Community Action office that they will still enjoy the experience of getting ready for school on their own: “There’s just something special about taking your child to buy school supplies, reinforcing the value of education. We are happy we can play a role in making that possible for children and families.”

If you would like to find out more about getting school supply assistance for your family, Pavey recommends filling out Community Action’s online application form. Anyone without internet access or needing additional assistance may call Community Action at 563-324-3236.

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