Buckingham County is serving more students this school year through Santa Fund vouchers, said Lisha Robinson, the school division’s coordinator of instructional services.
Last year, 170 students received vouchers, and so far this year, 180 have.
“It helps families get things they may not otherwise provide for their children,” said Robinson, who is coordinating the fund for the first year.
The vouchers can be used at participating area stores and go toward buying essentials such as clothing, coats, shoes, school supplies, eyeglasses and medicine.
Now in its 125th year, The Santa Fund is co-sponsored by The Daily Progress and radio station WINA-AM and is administered by The United Way of Greater Charlottesville. The annual fundraising drive, with a goal this year of $175,000, kicked off Thanksgiving Day and runs through mid-January. So far, the community has donated about $113,000.
Robinson said most of the vouchers are used at the beginning of the school year to purchase supplies and necessities for the new academic year.
Schools determine which families are eligible for vouchers and families can refer themselves, she said.
Robinson said the Buckingham County school system, similar to other rural divisions, has many families who are in need.
In Buckingham, 55% of the 2,100 students this school year qualify for free or reduced-price lunch or other forms of economic assistance.
“We wish we could help everyone,” Robinson said.
In addition to Buckingham County, the Santa Fund serves children in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange counties.
“It’s a wonderful program,” Robinson said. “We’re fortunate to be part of it.”
» In loving memory of Vern Maxa, Grandma Maxa, Grandpa Bill, Big Jim, Virignia and Butch Brown, Richard and Dee Dee Connellee, Henry and Doris Wade, Jim and Mama Jo Nelms, Wilfred “88 Keys” Wilson, Nancy Heintzleman, Fred Kain, Chester Davis, Jack and Dick Marr, Orbin Carter, Herbert Pickford, Darden Towe, Ben Hurt, Bob Sandell, T.E. Wood, Joe and Betty Bingler, Dan Robinson, Jim Taylor, George Goodrich Sr., Cary Branch, Bob Huff, Fred McCormick, Peck Whitcomb, Joe Fix, Ernie Flynn, Cliff McClure, Brenda Gentry, Karen Shifflett, Pam Melampy, David Shipp, Dianne Washburg, Jenny Tucker, Fran Maynard, Willie Jenkins, Ned Clausen, Craig Van de Castle, Nelson Mandela, Evelyn Barbour, Bradley Joyce, Cynthia, Jeremy and Camdon Morris, Chris Vlasis, Randy Rhoads, Kenny Houchens, Cody Dalton and Big Baby, $200
» In honor of Prince Charming and Diva, $100
» Cherry Avenue Christian Church Merry Mates Class, $100
» Merry Christmas. May God bless us all! $40
» In loving memory of “Unca Dennis,” $150
» In memory of Hoodi. He was a good kitty, $100
» In honor of Grace Carpenter, $50
» Fannie Rankin-Vinci, $100
» In memory of Bruce, “Mr. Sunshine,” $250
» Anonymous, $2,000
» John and Kitty Roberson, $100
» Karen Reid Sansom, $1,000
» Sari Bennett and Samuel Schustek, $50
Today’s total: $4,240
Running total: $113,325.62
To reach goal: $61,674.38