SALEM – School doesn`t start for another six weeks, but Salem City Schools is a Church of the United States of Salem.
The annual Back-To-School Clothing Sign-up is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. July 24 and 25 and 9 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m. July 26 and August 1 at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Education Building, 251 S. Broadway Ave.
The program covers only children of low income income in the Salem city school district (along with St. Paul)
Must bring proofs of income and residency along with the child's name, age, birth date, and school grade by entering this fall. Each child will have an opportunity to pick out a reading-level appropriate book to keep during the registration.
Vouchers can be used to purchase clothing for sale at school Salem Walmart and are only valid from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31. Voucher values will range from $ 50 to $ 70 and are made out in the child's name. The child must be the parent to the voucher, with all sales final, no money refaunded and no exchanges.
When finished shopping, the parent must take their clothes, their child, the voucher and a photo identification to the service desk for check-out.
“This is our big program. The people look forward to it, they really do, " program assistant coordinator Laurel Todd said.
She has been around since the program's beginnings, which started many, many years ago. She couldn't put an exact number on it, but said in the beginning, the members of Church Women would go out to Km, and set up a distribution date to pass them out.
In 2006, they switched to a voucher program and started working with Walmart.
Since that time (2006), the total number of families served through last year totaled 2,627 comprised of 5,552 children. Each year the number of families fluctuates, falling anywhere from 172 to 2007 to a high of 232 in 2009. Last year, the number was 202. The number of children also fluctuates, with 357 in 2007 to 482 in 2009. Last year the number was 425.
Todd also noted that they have applications written in Spanish for any Hispanic families who qualify.
The program, which is coordinated by Pat Doering, is supported by the Pearce Foundation, the Salem Community Foundation and donations from churches, individuals and organizations. Letters were sent to various churches, organizations and clubs who donated previously.
Anyone who wants to donate is welcome to write The check should be given to Treasurer Gail Tetlow.
For the first time this past winter, the group gave mattresses for children, along with pillows, blankets and bedding. The number was 120 twin Serta mattresses.
"Our purpose to be a service to the community," Todd said. "Our biggest concern is community, serving where we live."
That service for Salem Church started with the group's organization in 1949, bringing together Christian women from different denominations in the community to form one for prayer and service.
The not-for-profit group includes active participation by women in 13 churches. Church Women United identified the need for the local AID and helped start the Quaker Day Care. Current officers include President Ila Jeanne Paxson, Vice President Pauline (P.J.) Devine, Secretary Sue Motherwell, Treasurer Gail Tetlow, and Assistant Treasurer Laurel Todd.