Annual ‘School Supply Daze’ accepting donations

NAPPANEE — School may be out but many families may already be preparing or worrying about ways to finance school supplies and clothing for the students for the fall. Lucky for those in Nappanee, there are many people willing to step up to help. The fourth annual School Supply Daze will be held at the Nappanee Public Library Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Nappanee Area Chamber of Commerce, is made possible by funding partners made up of business and community members in the area. “Donations are going right back to the community for our families,” explained Dianne Debelak, School Supply Daze committee chair and local business owner. “Last year was our biggest year. We had a line around the library and we served 90 families — a total of 165 children.”
The event came to be when Chamber members remembered a similar program that took place in Goshen, where students went from business to business picking up items of school supplies. “The first year we did it,” Debelak explained, “we didn’t know what to expect. We did it like Goshen did and a lot of our businesses ran out of things. The second year we had it at the Chamber and then sent them to the businesses … but it had gotten so big, we had to look for somewhere else.
She said that last year was the first time the event took place at the library and that moving it from the Chamber office to the location was logical, because it not only had more room, but was a place of learning for children. “The space is so much more conducive to the flow of students,” she added.
“We get the school supply lists online and then pick up items that are on them,” Debelak said. “We can’t buy everything but we try to get the things that almost every grade needs. We try to buy things that may cost a little more while staying cost-effective.”
Families that are in need of this type of assistance need not fill out forms, bring proof of income or meet any qualifications. No one is turned away. However, Debelak suggests that families intending to show up, come early, as those at the end of the line have a slimmer selection to choose from. “All we take is their name and the number of children they have,” Debelak said. “This is all about supporting families. We also notify all the Amish parochial schools so their students can take part.”
Area businesses will also offer specials and family-friendly activities that day in conjunction with the August Second Saturdays celebration. “We give them information and send them to other businesses too that are offering things,” Debelak added.
Brokers Mortgage Group donates a bag for students to collect their needed items and though there is no limit to what they can select, children are expected to take only as much as they need. Children must also be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate. For more information, contact Debelak at 574-773-2034 or call the Nappanee Area Chamber of Commerce at 574-773-7812.