URGENT: KidSmart Press Release Wednesday August 1, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KIDSMART’S 10th OPENING FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR POSTPONED DUE TO EXTREME HEAT
JULY 31, 2012—ST. LOUIS, MO—KidSmart, St. Louis’s Free Educational Supply Store, is postponing its 10th grand re-opening originally scheduled for tomorrow, August 1st due to the extreme heat.
With outside temperatures climbing to more than 100 degrees again this week, temperatures inside the un-air conditioned Free Store and warehouse have been reaching dangerous levels. Even in this extreme heat, tens of thousands of local children, who live each day in poverty, will start school in just two weeks. As the local non-profit organization that has provided free school supplies to kids in need each school year since 2002, this is the first time KidSmart has had to reschedule its opening date of August 1st and they know they have to find a way around the heat.
“The last thing we want to do is postpone our re-opening because we know these kids need the free supplies in order to be equipped for back to school. We just can’t risk the health and safety of the teachers, volunteers and staff. At the same time, we know we can’t risk leaving 90,000 kids in need unprepared for the first day of school, so we are working hard to develop an alternate plan during this unprecedented heat wave,” said Jennifer Miller, President of KidSmart.
KidSmart is quickly re-configuring their distribution method. The organization is planning to launch a “drive -thru service” for teachers who shop at KidSmart monthly. KidSmart will be working to beat the heat of each day opening at 6 a.m. each day and closing by 9 a.m. Instead of distributing through the regular monthly shopping trips inside the Free Store, KidSmart will distribute pre-packaged boxes of school supplies, which will be loaded into the teachers’ cars. Drive-thru service will begin this Thursday but volunteers are needed immediately.
KidSmart has put out a community-wide call for extra volunteers for the next two weeks, leading up to the start of school. The back-to-school boxes will need to be packed by volunteers during the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. hours and will include enough supplies to outfit all of the students in an entire high poverty classroom. Volunteers will also be needed to work the teacher drive-thru service.
“With the extra efforts from our dedicated staff and volunteers and additional help from the St. Louis community, we will be able to step up and beat the heat for tens of thousands of St. Louis students. These kids count on KidSmart each year to provide the free supplies they must have to succeed in school,” said Miller.
August 1st is also a big day for KidSmart as it kicks off its annual, community-wide campaign called Push for Pencils. KidSmart is projecting to distribute $1 million in free school supplies this August alone to tens of thousands of kids in need. According to Miller that is almost double the supplies typically distributed in one month which is why, she says, it’s even more important for the entire community and 60,000 employee partners to pick up extra school supplies to donate while shopping .
And while the weather forecast for August doesn’t look to be cooling off anytime soon, Miller and the KidSmart staff will be watching the thermostat daily in the hopes of re-opening the KidSmart Free Store for shopping in September.
“The need is year-round, as many of the top needed supplies are consumable; however we all know the importance and impact the start of school has on the success a child experiences throughout an entire school year,” said Miller.
For more information about KidSmart, Push for Pencils, or teacher shopping, please visit http://www.kidsmartstl.org.
KidSmart is a St. Louis not-for-profit organization that equips tens of thousands of children in need in more than 110 public schools in the St. Louis area. Teachers from eligible schools “shop” monthly for free school supplies to ensure their students are prepared to learn. The Free Store is funded and stocked by local individuals, foundations and companies. To date, more than $24 million worth of free school supplies, including essential classroom tools such as pencils, notebooks, glue, backpacks, art supplies and books have been distributed to more than 100,000 local students in need.