BERLIN — Worcester County GOLD (Giving Other Lives Dignity), a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is gearing up for its 20th Annual School Supplies for Students Campaign.
In 2018, with the help of generous sponsors and donors from our local community, GOLD provided backpacks filled with school supplies, along with coupons for free haircuts from the Hair Cuttery, for 498 Worcester County students who live in poverty and low-income circumstances.
The families of all students provided school supplies are referred to GOLD by the group’s community partners, including Worcester County Department of Social Services, Worcester County Health Department and Worcester County Board of Education’s Student Services Office. This referral process ensures that all recipients of donated school supplies have been fully vetted for financial need. GOLD’s database offers the ability to ensure that each referred child receives the specific school supplies needed for his/her grade level, which heightens the ability for student’s academic success. The database also provides the ability to track data to ensure that duplicate services are not provided to same families served by GOLD.
Despite Worcester County being considered one of the top resort destinations along the east coast, the Maryland Interagency Council on Homelessness reported in the 2018 Annual Report that the homeless population in Maryland is still on the rise. Coinciding with this report, the State Department of Education released that over 40% of Worcester County students qualified for free and reduced-price meals. This data becomes more apparent in conjunction with the increased number of referrals submitted by social workers requesting emergency on a daily basis.
State and county data, in addition to the increased number of students being referred to the nonprofit, emboldened Worcester County GOLD Executive Director Sandy Sipes.
“We are working to make the 2019 School Supplies for Students Campaign the most successful year that GOLD has ever seen,” Sipes said.
Assistance from individuals, organizations, businesses, and volunteers is vital to the nonprofit campaign’s continued success.
Interested individuals can sponsor children through GOLD’s website, or check out the list of school supply donations needed to fill backpacks, at WorcesterGOLD.org or through GOLD’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/WorcesterGOLD. Donations can be made to Worcester County GOLD, 299 Commerce Street, Snow Hill, Md. 21863 or though the website to purchase school supplies. For questions or to volunteer, call 410-677-6830.