The Salvation Army of Shawnee is neck deep in pencils and paper, getting prepared for distribution day.

The Salvation Army of Shawnee is neck deep in pencils and paper, getting prepared for distribution day.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday — or earlier, if they run out of supplies — the group will be giving 600 children a jump start to the school year.

“We have been blessed to be able to provide free backpacks with school supplies for kids again for this upcoming school year,” Capt. Jamie Clay said.

The Salvation Army will service Pottawatomie, Seminole and Lincoln County residents at the The Salvation Army Administration offices at 200 E. 9th in Shawnee.

“We at The Salvation Army know all too well that for many families the rising costs of school supplies, clothing and basic care for children becomes exceedingly difficult to provide the items needed for a child to feel successful in school,” she said. “We — along with our many other volunteer groups — want to help our local families in need by providing free Back-to-School basic school supplies and backpacks for kids in grades kindergarten through eighth grade.”

Clay said the site will provide school supplies, Family Store Clothing vouchers and backpacks only.

“Parents or guardians must bring with them and provide their photo ID, proof of residency in Pottawatomie, Seminole or Lincoln County, proof of income of household and a birth record/shot record for each child,” she said.

Additionally, The Salvation Army Corps will be providing spiritual support for those who inquire, Clay said, and the Gideons will be providing free Bibles.

Cliff Lehman, an original founder of the fundraising program and member for The Salvation Army Advisory Board, said, “The Back to School Back Pack program has been a longstanding event servicing our area more than 18 years now, providing children the items they need to be successful in school and is funded by local donors and through The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Salad Luncheon and Bean Supper proceeds.”

If people didn’t support the Army like this by coming to eat at one of the Auxiliary events, we wouldn’t be able to make a difference in the children’s lives like we do,” he said.

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States, Clay said.

“Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad array of social services ranging from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children,” she said.

Out of every dollar spent, 82 cents is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide, Clay said.

For more information about programs and other services available at The Salvation Army, to volunteer, or to make a donation, call (405) 275-2243 or go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.