Salvation Army kicks off back-to-school drive

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 18, 2015

With schools just weeks away from starting, The Salvation Army kicked off its back-to-school drive Friday outside of Walmart.

The Salvation Army will be accepting monetary donations and school supplies each Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Aug. 1, said Kamace Priest, Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary president.

“Once we get them all together we’ll separate them out, and once we get the school supply list and when we get the application from an individual for their kids, it will tell us what grade they’re in so we can pack a bookbag full of everything that child needs,” she said.

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Items included in the backpacks range from paper towels and hand sanitizer to pencils and three-ring binders, Priest said.

“Basically we run the back-to-school drive like we do the Angel Tree program,” she said. “They get certified through DHS to show they are in need.”

The Salvation Army provided 288 backpacks last year and Priest said 101 applications have been put in so far for backpacks this year.

“We’re planning on distributing the week before schools start,” she said. “They’ll have a good fresh start.”

Without programs like the back-to-school drive, some students wouldn’t have school supplies for the upcoming school year.

“No child wants to show up with things they had from last year when most of the classroom has shiny new bookbags and pencils and paper,” Priest said. “So this just gives them a good fresh start for the new school year.”

She said this program is completely community supported.

“The only way this program survives is through the community donations,” Priest said. “If we don’t get those donations, this doesn’t survive.”

Michael Watson, a second year volunteer, said he helps out with The Salvation Army any chance he gets.

“We’re trying to help people who don’t have bookbags and school supplies,” he said. “We’re just trying to help people.”

Watson said he gives back because he loves the Lord and he wants other people to know there are people who love them.

“I want to encourage people to do better,” he said. “Stop doing what you’re doing and keep your head up.”

Priest added the thrift store truck will also be out at Walmart during donation times.

“If they want to make a donation to the thrift store and they don’t want to go all the way out to Clay Street, they’ll be able to make that donation here,” she said.

To donate to the Salvation Army send a check to 530 Mission 66, Vicksburg, MS 39183, or to make a donation online, visit

The Salvation Army also accepts donations of clothing, shoes and furniture to sell in its thrift store. Old, unusable clothing goes into bales, which The Salvation Army is able to sell as well.