By Nyesha Stone
The new school year has officially started and there are many inner-city youth that lack the necessary supplies they need for school, which is why for 30 years, AT&T Pioneers—a local organization of employees and retirees who volunteer their time to the community—has provided bookbags filled with supplies for students. For the last 15 years, AT&T Pioneers has donated approximately 11,000 filled bookbags to students.
And within the last five to six years, AT&T Pioneers has been in contact with Milwaukee Public Schools to discover where the most need was. On Aug. 30, 2019, AT&T Pioneers provided over 750 filled bookbags to five MPS schools—Clarke Street School, Franklin School, Jackson School, Keefe Avenue School and Marvin Pratt Elementary.
Some years, schools ask for a specific amount, but this year’s schools asked AT&T to donate as much as they could. According to Chapter President for the AT&T Wisconsin Pioneers Marion Artner, the bookbags were pretty evenly split with some schools receiving underwear for the younger children.
“We’ve focused on the same schools the last few years,” said Artner. “They’re so ecstatic when we come.”
A week before the event, volunteers got together to assemble almost 400 bookbags. According to Artner, five different cars were packed with boxes of bookbags, and one by one, each school received their supplies.
The bookbags contained folders, notebooks, rulers, erases and glue, plus a few other items. The bigger children were also given extra items such as a pack of 200 sheets of paper, colored pencils, pens and a protractor.
Most of the supplies comes from the AT&T Pioneers themselves, with help from sponsors around the state, plus family and friends.
“It takes a village and I know these children are deeply appreciative,” she said.
Artner said anyone can help out and it starts with calling your local schools to see what resources they may need.
For more information on AT&T Pioneers, visit http://attpioneers.org/.