U.S. Marine Corps League lands with school supplies

PUHI — There was no fanfare when the truck rolled up and two big cartons were dropped off, yesterday morning.

Brent White of the United States Marine Corps League said some of the schools had excused the students for the day due to a teachers’ meeting.

“But the schools are open, so we’re not going to stop because the students aren’t there,” White said. “We can pick up the cartons at Young Bros. from as early as 7:30 a.m., and from there, we’re going to hit as many schools as we can.”

Members of the USMC League distributed more than 200 wheeled backpacks along with a supply of identification tags for students at all of the public elementary schools as well as some of the private schools.

Jolee Rogers, a third-grade student at Elsie Wilcox Elementary School, was one of the students who enjoyed a day off from classes, but was helping Bob Olayan with the project.

Last year, the USMC League distributed a similar number of backpacks to the schools for distribution to students who otherwise might not be able to afford them.

Late last month when schools reopened, one of the Parent-Community Network Center coordinators said she had never seen such a big need for school supplies from students whose parents were caught in a crunch between rising fuel costs and a tightening economy.

That coordinator said it was through the benevolence of several community groups and the generosity of businesses that students could be properly equipped for school.

The Big Kmart store was one of those businesses which offered the Kaua‘i Board of Realtors special pricing on school supplies during its effort to provide supplies to students in the middle and high schools on the island.

That gesture allowed the Kaua‘i Board of Realtors to get more supplies for the budget they had allocated for the materials.

“I just had my 80th birthday, Sunday,” said Sgt. Maj. Bud White, who along with Bob Olayan and Rogers, lugged two big cartons of backpacks into the offices of Island School. “I might be getting too old to do this,” White said.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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