School supplies available for Oklahoma children being raised by grandparents

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OKLAHOMA CITY - There are many Oklahoma grandparents raising their own grandchildren.

It’s financially a tough spot for some who live on a fixed income, especially when it comes to purchasing those back-to-school supplies.

“I'm just trying to make it the best I can,” said Patricia Herbert.

Herbert has spent the last eight years raising three of her grandchildren.

"I love my grandkids very much, with all my heart,” she said.

It's a choice she'll never regret; although, she admits that it is tough financially since she lives on a fixed income.

“I can't go out and buy all the stuff that another person could,” Herbert said.

When it comes to buying school supplies this year, Patricia won’t have to scrape together the money.

A few local groups, including Sunbeam Family Services and Triad, are working together to help as many of those families as they can with that expense.

 “Lots of organization and a little bit of chaos,” said Andrea Sneed, coordinator for Sunbeam's Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

A backpack giveaway designed to help ease the financial burden will happen before the end of the month.

The giveaway is focused on not only helping the grandparents save money, but helping the kids have something new when they start school next month.

On Tuesday, volunteers gathered at Sunbeam to stuff backpacks full of supplies for Oklahoma families, like Herbert's.

“We are preparing 500 backpacks,” Sneed said.

Boxes of glue, highlighters, erasers, scissors and other school supplies were spread out as volunteers grabbed a back pack and a school supply list and went to work filling the bags.

“These backpacks are going to people that often have to make decisions between buying school supplies and paying the electricity bill,” Sneed said.

The goal is not only to help families financially but to give the children the tools they need to succeed in school.

“These are general supplies for whatever grade they're in,” Sneed said.

It's a gift Herbert, her grandchildren and families like them are grateful to receive.

“It really made me happy. I was so glad that I was getting help with the kids,” she said.

The backpacks will be handed out later this month. The groups are able to help about 500 kids with their school supplies.

Sunbeam officials say there is still room for grandparents who would benefit from this program.

They can find out more information by contacting Sunbeam Family Services. Applications for the program must be presented in person.

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