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Care Closet: Donations Needed For Students
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School supplies are being collected now, as Oakdale Joint Unified School District officials look toward the fast approaching start of the new school year.

“We are looking for backpacks, binders, notebooks, pencils, pens, highlighters, calculators,” said Counseling Office Secretary Dana Hernandez.

She coordinates the ‘Care Closet’ at the high school, which helps to fill emergency needs for students throughout the school year, with everything from personal hygiene items to quick and easy-to-prepare food choices.

Right now, though, the focus is on getting students ready for the year.

“It’s just the basic school supplies,” Hernandez added. “I have a little bit of everything right now, but at the beginning of school I just never know how bombarded I am going to get.”

Donations can be dropped off at the counseling office or contact Hernandez by phone, 848-7111, for more information.

“Sometimes we have people donating funds to my account, then I am actually able to purchase PE clothes for kids that can’t afford them,” she said.

Any kind of donation, whether it is a new backpack, a pack of pencils, or money to help keep the shelves stocked, is appreciated.

Checks can be made payable to the Oakdale High School Care Closet and the money will directly benefit the students. In many cases, said Hernandez, that helping hand extends beyond the high school halls.

“I have some regulars,” Hernandez said of knowing some students that will need the extra help to start the year with enough supplies. “If they have siblings, we try to provide for the family.”

Enrollment of new students can also bring in more kids that will need the supplies, she added, so the more stocked the shelves are to start the school year, the better.

“We’re at over 1,600 enrollment right now,” she said of recent figures available for the high school, with 348 in the senior class. Those numbers will fluctuate over the next couple of weeks.

“We have registration on July 1 and August 1, that’s where I will have a lot of kids coming in,” Hernandez said of being ready for the requests.

She just wrapped up the summer school session and had a couple of days off before returning to work as of Thursday, July 17.

“The first day of school is August 7,” Hernandez said. “If people want to help, they can just come to the counseling office and see me.”