Sunday, August 13, 2000

Book bags laden with help

Donated supplies aid hundreds of needy pupils

By Mara H. Gottfried
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Carol Doyen saved about $400 in supplies for her six school-age children Saturday.

        With the extra money, she will buy them more school clothes and Nike sneakers this year.

        “This is wonderful because it's really hard on kids going to school and not having what the other kids have,” said Ms. Doyen, of Newport.

        “I thank God that there are people who will help children.”

        The people Ms. Doyen refered to are the employees of Casco Products Inc., a manufacturing company for the hospital industry. Saturday was the fourth year the company's grass-roots volunteer group, Take Time to Care, provided 775 book bags laden with school supplies to the first children to show up. There were enough supplies in each bag to last a child six months.

        Hundreds of parents and children lined up in front of Casco in Camp Washington to pick up the clear book bags, which were full of grade-specific supplies for kindergartners to eighth-graders.

        Ms. Doyen's 8-year-old son, Ryan Brown, smiled and said, “Wow. That's cool,” when he saw his bag was full of markers, folders, notebooks, a ruler and chalk.

        At another table, her 15-year-old daughter, Danielle Skelton, found a binder, a dictionary, a calculator and a pack of pens in her bag.

        Daughter Tierra Doyen, 2, received a Crayola coloring book.

        “With so many kids, it's great to have this kind of help,” Ms. Doyen said.

        Casco employees raised about $10,000 during the year to finance the school supply giveaway.

        By 11:30 a.m., half an hour after the school supply drive started, about 400 bags were gone. And 225 more were settled onto children's backs by midafter noon. The leftover bags will be used for next year's project.

        “So many people in this community need the supplies,” said Pam Brammall, an account manager at Casco. “We wanted to be able to give back to the community, but in a way that would really be an investment in children's futures.”


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