Great Start Program donates money for school supplies

By: Eli Gehn
By: Eli Gehn

Before school starts, every student needs new supplies or clothes. Some Dowagiac and Cassopolis schools had the opportunity to work for their school supplies this year.

It's all possible thanks to the McLoughlin Family Foundation's Great Start Program.

Around 200 kids are selected to go on a $200 shopping spree that they earned.

Megan McLoughlin, of the McLouglin Family Foundation, says, “We ask the school personnel to focus on students in grades 1 through 4 and we ask that they choose them based on good behavior, academic achievement and financial need.”

Rich McGrew, a parent of a student, says, “I never even knew they had this available until the other day… It's great considering we have six kids at home, it helps a lot.”

The students and their legal guardians had one hour to pick out whatever supplies were on the list. They filled their carts with shirts, pants, shoes and school supplies.

Linda Zielke, a grandmother of a student, says, “They feel very special I think it's awesome what they're doing. They're having fun doing it too, they're picking out so much and saying 'wait a minute, only certain things.'”

Then it is time to check out, and if they did not fully spend the $200, they get the chance to go back and get more.

McLoughlin says, “We really want to give them a feeling of confidence going into the school year. They're faces say it all, they're so excited when they leave with all of their goodies.”

The goodies that can make a difference to getting a great start in the classroom

The Great Start Program started back in 2007 when they selected 100 students from Dowagiac and Cassopolis schools.

The organization has selected more and more students each year.

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