The summer is winding down and back to school is almost underway for students in the William Floyd School District. With back to school comes excitement for some students, but stress for others as they worry they won’t have the supplies they need to succeed.
Approximately 65 percent of students enrolled in the William Floyd School District qualify for free or reduced meals, according to James Montalto, public relations director for the William Floyd School District.
The King’s Kids Christian Outreach, founded by Patrick “PJ” Balzer and his wife Catherine, helps students by collecting supplies for kindergarten up until the 12th grade. They receive a list of supplies each grade would need from the William Floyd School District, according to Balzer.
The organization was solely devoted to food distribution in the area until about seven years ago, when a single mother of five asked if they could start distributing back-to-school supplies. Now the King’s Kids Christian Outreach distributes about 300 backpacks with supplies annually, according to Balzer.
In the past, the supplies were distributed at a single location where kids could go and pick out their backpacks. Due to rising cases of COVID-19, this year, Balzer and his wife will load up their SUV and drive to neighborhoods where students in need can collect backpacks and supplies.
“I feel like we’re parents to the whole community,” Balzer said. “We know hundreds of kids and we get to be involved in these kids’ lives. Some are just on a yearly basis of just handing them a backpack and school supplies around this time, and then others we get invited to birthday parties, christenings, and all this different stuff. So, we’re almost watching the whole community grow up.”
The supply and donation collection began around the beginning of July and will be distributed around the end of August before students return to the classroom. You can donate money to the King’s Kids Christian Outreach for backpacks and school supplies by visiting Gofundme.com/f/cescsa-change-for-change.
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