School supplies drive kicks off

With the intent to instill a greater sense of education in the community, Operation School Supplies will provide local elementary school students with everything from glue to tissue boxes. ?Since its inauguration in 1990, the annual school supplies drive, founded by the Houston Alumni Organization and Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company, has raised more than $1.5 million.

During 2007, the organization collected more than $150,000 worth of school supplies and helped more than 32,000 elementary students in 330 schools – spanning 31 Houston and surrounding school districts.

"One of the things we’re doing that’s a little different is that we’re holding a back-to-school bash at the newly renovated Houston Downtown Public Library on August 9 at 1 p.m. I think that’s something people might want to come out and support," vice president for alumni and student programs Tonja Jones said.

The campaign has seen much growth with sponsorships from Fox 26, UPN 20, Sunny 99.1, Houston Community Newspapers, the Houston Astros and the Houston Public Library.

This year, Operation School Supplies will encourage more internal campus involvement.

"We’re seeing more and more students come out over the years. It used to be only UH alumni that participated in the Sort and Box Day at the Athletics / Alumni Center, but lately we’ve been seeing more individual students come and help us sort," Jones said.

Operation School Supplies is accepting donations of notebooks, map pencils, crayons, scissors, tissue boxes, water-soluble markers, paper, pencils, colored pencils and glue.

"If students would like to set up an internal drive, they can get a box and information from the Houston Alumni Organization Web site, or students can make a donation to OSS online," Jones said.

While the exact location of campus donation bins is yet to be finalized, individual students and campus organizations can volunteer at the Sort and Box Day at 8 a.m. on Aug.16 at the Athletic/Alumni Center.

"It’s a great opportunity for student organizations and departments around campus to participate and be involved in as a Cougar community to help out other students," President of Student Alumni Connection Zenaida Chairez said.

A portion of the Coca-Cola proceeds from Coca-cola products sold at H-E-B stores from Wednesday through Aug. 9 will also benefit Operation School Supplies.

The kickoff event for will be held from 1:30 to 2:10 p.m. Wednesday at H-E-B Plus in Pearland, 2805 Business Center Drive.

There will be a collection and supplies drop-off day at the Athletic/Alumni Center on Aug. 9. Collection days will occur from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 24 at the H-E-B located on 3111 Woodridge Dr., as well as at 7 p.m. July 30 at the Astros game at Minute Maid Park.

Additional reporting by Kristina Michel

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