August brings the anticipation of school; the first few weeks are busy with preparations from stocking up on supplies to purchasing new clothing to braving new haircuts.
Waxahachie ISD is joining in the pre-school excitement by hosting the well-known annual Operation First Day of School (OFDoS), an event that debuted in 2009. The purpose of the event is to provide the back-to-school necessities for the significant number of students from economically disadvantaged families.
These students would likely have to do without supplies, sturdy clothing, new haircuts and vaccinations; however, due to the financial, clothing, and school supply donations, as well as the numerous volunteers, WISD has been assist these students with back-to-school necessities.
In years past, Operation First Day of School has typically raised about $15,000 in monetary donations as well as physical donations of school supplies and clothing.
This year, however, Dr. Nicole Mansell, PR director for WISD, voiced an unusual lag in donations this summer.
Though the deadline for monetary donations is July 31, donations currently stand at $4,000.
This reduction in available funds will significantly affect the number of students WISD is able to assist. Those operating the event use those funds to purchase prepackaged supplies and clothing for students, and the process can take up to two weeks.
Clothing donations are slow this year also, as are volunteer applications.
Mansell said she has reviewed around 150 applications annually in years past, often receiving 50 on the last possible day.
This year, July 23 is the final day to sign up, in order to give the chairs the time to order volunteer T-shirts, which add an element of professionalism and order to the event, according to Mansell. Volunteers are needed to coordinate and hand out supplies, as well as provide haircuts and vaccinations.
Operation First Day of School has created a community that gathers once a year to serve: volunteers and donors often return each year to participate. This loyalty has allowed Mansell to send out recruitment letters to the participants, as well as post information and needs on Facebook, Twitter and the WISD website.
However, many of the usual participants are unavailable this summer, creating a greater need than ever for people willing to serve and provide for families in need.
The event takes place Tuesday, Aug. 13, so the next few weeks are “the final push,” Mansell said. The deadline for supply and clothing donation is Aug. 5, and the deadline for volunteer applications and monetary donations precedes that, so there is a great need for people to step out of their comfort zone and partner with WISD.
Mansell said that Operation First Day of School was “designed to equip students for excellence the first day they walk through the doors.”
Such a mission requires manpower and resources, and WISD is asking the community for volunteers willing to provide for those needs, she added.