What is the Assess the Need School Supply Campaign?

Approximately 2,000 needy children in Livingston Parish are counting on this community's generosity to give them tools they need to be successful in the classroom.

"We are proud to continue our effort to help the children of our parish have the classroom supplies they need to learn," says Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor. "We believe a proper education is the first step for any individual in becoming a successful, productive citizen in our community. We want to make sure all our children have the best opportunity to be successful."

WAFB Channel 9 invites you to join Taylor and more than 100 volunteers from across the parish, including many public school teachers and administrators, to be part of this year's campaign. Those volunteers will collect donations for ASSESS the NEED at the Wal-Mart stores in Denham Springs and Walker every Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., between July 18 and August 2. Donations of cash and supplies will be accepted.

Donations also can be dropped off during regular work hours, Monday through Friday, at the Livingston Parish Assessor's Office at 20180 Iowa Street, Livingston (in the Livingston Parish Court House), or at Team Toyota and Team Honda, located off Interstate12 at the O'Neal exit.

This year Team Toyota and Team Honda are pleased to be part of the campaign. You can bring your donated school supplies to either dealership.

Basic school supplies can be purchased by the ASSESS the NEED program for about $20 to $25 for each child. Bulk purchases and tax-free advantages help to hold the cost down.

For families who are struggling to make ends meet, school supplies can be a luxury item. Utility costs, house and car notes, clothes and food all out-rank school supplies on a tight budget.  Your help can be an important part of these students' well-being and academic success.

The needed supplies will be delivered to each of the parish schools early in August so teachers and school administrators can discreetly distribute the supplies to children identified as needing the program's assistance on the first day of school - when all the other students are bringing their new supplies to school.

"There is no application process for assistance.  Persons needing help should contact their school office.  We deliver the supplies to the schools across the parish and we depend on the school principals, counselors and teachers to determine which children should receive help," Taylor said.

Over the past eight years, the campaign has collected nearly $345,000 in money and supplies for the children of Livingston Parish, according to Taylor. Four years ago, ASSESS the NEED also raised money to purchase supplies for students who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The program distributed an additional 6,000 book bags filled with school supplies to displaced students in Livingston, Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, Assumption, and Calcasieu parishes, as well as Jasper, Texas.

The ASSESS the NEED program is financed through individual donations and program sponsors.