For most students, getting ready for the start of school on August 27th means focusing on making sure they had everything they need for class as they begin the new year.

In most cases that means shopping with their parents for notebooks, paper, pencils, rulers, and dozens of other things on their supply lists. But for just as many students the beginning of the school year is not something they look forward to, but one that they and their families dread.

The reason being that they, unlike many of their friends, won’t be starting the new school year with new supplies their classmates have; in fact, many of them were looking at starting classes with nothing at all.
But thanks once again to Ingles Markets, WLOS-TV, the Asheville Citizen Times, iHeart Radio, Biltmore Church, Great Beginnings Dental, Asheville Kiwanis Club, AVL Technologies, and hundreds of generous companies, organizations, families, adults, children and volunteers, those who may have walked into the classroom without the supplies they need will now find they will have the start they deserve and knowing that they will have the schools supplies they need for the entire school year.

For nearly two decades, Eblen Charities has been fortunate to have been a part of many wonderful and amazing events in an effort in times of need to serve the children, adults, and families in our community. But this year’s Tools for Schools Campaign proved to be, for the tenth consecutive year, one of the most amazing events in Buncombe County history.

Beginning at 4:30 AM on Wednesday, August 15th and running until 7:30 PM, the generosity of the people in western North Carolina once again came to the forefront as hundreds of individuals, families, companies and organizations rallied to join Tools for Schools in dropping off school supplies, monetary donations, snacks, and food for the weekend back pack program, once again raising more than a million items. Long before dawn, WLOS-TV began live broadcasts from the parking lot of Ingles on Brevard Road, along with the staff of iHeart Radio, running until 7:00 PM. It didn’t take long before cars started pulling in and Ingles shoppers began walking across the parking lot dropping off bags filled with everything from pencils, folders, and hand-sanitizer to glue-sticks, notebooks, and back packs.

“It is amazing to see the generosity of so many especially in these difficult times. To see our community come together and to give so selflessly to help make sure that all students have the same start to the school year is a remarkable thing to see. Every community should be so fortunate,” states Bill Murdock, executive director of Eblen Charities. “We will never be able to thank everyone enough for their kindness and to Ingles, WLOS, iHeart Radio, and the Asheville Citizen-Times in putting this all together.”

Our heartfelt thanks to Bobby Ingle, Jim Lanning, Tom Outlaw, Melissa Leavell, Tim Barrett, and everyone from Ingles Markets; Joe Fishleigh, Lauren Brigman ,Tammy Watford, and all involved from WLOS; and to Josh Michaels, Eddie Foxx, Brian Hall, Caroline Early, Mark Starling, Pete Kaliner, Sharon Greene, and all from iHeart Radio, the Asheville Citizen-Times, the staff and volunteers of Eblen Charities, and everyone who joined us by donating to Tools for Schools for showing the true heart of our community. The Tools for Schools program is also unique in that it does not just provide school supplies at the beginning of the school year, but continues to provide them throughout the school year.

If you didn’t have a chance to drop by Ingles for the Tools for Schools drive and would still like to donate, please bring your school supplies or any donation to the Eblen Charities Waddell Client Service Center at 50 Westgate Parkway in the Westgate Shopping Center, Monday-Friday from 8 AM – 5 PM. For more information on the Ingles Tools for Schools Program, please contact Bill Murdock at 828-242-2848 via email at [email protected], or visit our website at www.eblencharities.org.

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