Project GRACE is collecting back-to-school supplies at the new Public Safety Building in Scarborough on Aug. 30 from 2 to 3 p.m. Courtesy photo of Jodi Shea

SCARBOROUGH — Project GRACE is giving families preparing to go back to school some assistance with “Investing in Student Success,” a drive-thru collection for back-to-school supplies.

From 2 to 3 p.m. on Aug. 30 at the Public Safety Building parking lot on 275 U.S. Route 1, people can drop off supplies to volunteers, said Jodi Shea, the co-chair of the program.

Back-to-school preparations can be a stressful time for families, Shea said. Because of the pandemic, this year is even more challenging for some families, and Project GRACE’s mission includes assisting neighbors who may need extra help.

“Over the last 19 or 20 years, Project GRACE has been providing assistance to local families, primarily Scarborough, but they also help neighboring communities, too,” she said. “It’s based on community members who are willing to give and donate and have the means to do that, helping neighbors and community members who might need a helping hand.”

While the team has created a website listing requested supplies, Shea said that people are welcome to donate any type of school item — three-ring binders, notebooks, highlighters, post-it notes, and packs of construction paper are some examples.

Earbuds are also welcome this year, Shea said. Scarborough students will be doing at least a portion of their learning from home.

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“With remote learning, having two or three students at home at the same time, you need earbuds so the students can hear the teacher and not be interrupted by someone else’s teacher in a different room,” she said. “They’re a big ticket item that we’re hoping we can put in each backpack.”

Scarborough businesses and organizations are also contributing backpacks and other supplies, she said.

“It’s a huge help,” Shea said. “When people join together with their employees, it’s a big help and truly appreciated.”

The Scarborough Public Schools nutrition program is helping to distribute the supplies to individual students, Shea said.

If someone can’t make the drive-thru date and time, they can email Shea or Kelly Murphy, co-chair of the collection program, at [email protected] to make arrangements, Shea said.

“For those who can help, it’s important to do that because more and more need families need that,” she said. “It’s always a stressful time of year for people. There’s always a lot with coming back to school, and if this is one thing we can do to alleviate pressure, then I think it’s great.”

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People interested in seeing the list of items can visit projectgracemaine.weebly.com/news–updates/investing-in-student-success-with-back-to-school-supplies

“We’re all aware of these times and how things are challenging for all of us, and yet even more challenging for some families,” Shea said.

Shea said that she’s grateful for the businesses and local neighbors who have been so willing to step up and help struggling community members.

“It’s hard times and I’ve think we’ve seen it all the time here in Scarborough,” she said. “People are willing to step up to help those who may need it. There are all kinds of programs started by citizens when they see a need. It’s a great way to feel helped and contribute to people who need help.”

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