Cornerstone hosts back-to- school drive for local students

Kate Pezzulli,
The Prosper Press

Back to school can be fun for kids - a time of excitement about the upcoming year, new pens, pencils and markers and new ideas.

But sometimes kids do not have everything they need to help make this time special. That’s where Cornerstone Assistance Network of North Central Texas’ annual Back-to-School Bash comes in.

Cornerstone NCT, a Collin County nonprofit organization working in Prosper, is currently putting together its event for students in need who receive donated school supplies, shoes, spirit wear and backpacks for the upcoming school year.

Founder and Executive Director Jennifer Lutes said that the program, which is offered to all students who are on their school’s free and reduced lunch program, is currently providing for 320 kids.

This is up 120 students from last year, she said. The significant jump is due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had more people take us up on it this year than we have in the past,” Lutes said, “and I think it’s because ... parents were not as sure that they were going to be able to provide.”

Prosper residents can help Cornerstone in its efforts through several options, which are listed on the organization’s Facebook page, facebook.com/cornerstonenct/.

Residents can adopt a backpack, which means signing up to support a specific student, shopping for items they need, and bringing the supplies to a local Cornerstone donation drop-off location.

Backpacks may also be filled by shopping from home using an Amazon wish list. Items can be purchased online and shipped directly to Cornerstone.

Residents may also sponsor a backpack by making a monetary donation of $60 to Cornerstone so that it can shop for the supplies.

Another way to help outside of purchasing items or giving money is to donate time by volunteering to assist with the event.

Volunteers who have previously worked with Cornerstone can sign up to do so again through the link signupgenius.com/go/10C0E45A5AC2AA4FE3-back11.

New volunteers must sign up through the organization’s website, at cornerstonenct.org/volunteer, and undergo a background check.

This year’s Back-to-School Bask, which is scheduled to take place from 8:30-11:30 a.m. July 18, will be a little different than in years past because of coronavirus, Lutes said.

“Unfortunately, because of corona, we’re having to change it,” she said. “It’s a drive-by, so all of the families that have registered with us will come in that day.”

That is when the organization will give each registered student their backpack with supplies, as well as tennis shoes and spirit wear, she said.

So far, this year has been a tough one, but by donating a backpack, some pens and a little bit of hope to Cornerstone’s Back-to-School Bash, Prosper residents may be able to help make it better for some students.

“The need in this area is very hidden,” Lutes said. “Just because we look affluent doesn’t mean that everybody here isn’t struggling.

“Right now we have a lot more families that are needing assistance, so if you can help we would love it, and if you need assistance, please reach out.”