By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Donation drive to collect school supplies for TUSD students
Eastern Star school supplies drive
Mary Ella Williams of the local Wistaria Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star presents TUSD Director of Student Services Gil Ogden with school supplies following their donation drive last summer (Photo contributed).

As Turlock schools prepare to fully reopen in just two weeks, one local organization is making sure students have the supplies to succeed. 

Turlock’s Wistaria Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star is asking the community to contribute to their upcoming school supply drive by either filling a box with class essentials and dropping it off, or via monetary donations. This is the third drive the Freemasonry group has facilitated since 2019, with the previous two years collecting enough school supplies to fill hundreds of backpacks for Turlock Unified School District students. 

Last year, backpacks filled with pencils, paper, crayons, glue sticks and more were hand-delivered to students by the district as they went to school from home during distance learning.

“It has evolved over the years because more and more people want to contribute,” said Mary Ella Williams of the Wistaria Chapter. “Good people are out there, and good people want to do good things.”

This year’s school supply drive is different from others in the past, Williams added, as the drive-thru collection will be accepting boxes filled with school supplies. In the past, the drive asked for backpacks, but Williams hopes that people will simply give whatever supplies they are able to donate. She suggested businesses looking to donate to the cause place a box in their office or other space and turn it into the drive once it’s been filled.

Additionally, the drive will also be accepting monetary donations from individuals and businesses, which can be donated via checks made payable to TUSD, cash or gift cards to places that sell school supplies.

“We’re working with the Turlock Chamber of Commerce to facilitate corporate donations during the drive thru,” Williams said. “Our goal this year is to include as much community involvement as possible, and then supplement whatever else the schools need at the end.”

As has been seen during past drives, Williams hopes the Turlock community can once again show up for underserved students.

“I’ve always been somebody who’s known that there are people who are less fortunate than myself,” Williams said. “It makes me feel good to help them because I know that one child could change the world.”

The Wistaria Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star’s school supply drive will take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 6 in front of the TUSD office, 1574 E. Canal Dr.