By Sandi P. Beason

Daily Journal

Every day in her kindergarten class, 5-year-old Demornae Newsome uses an array of school supplies.

"I know what I use at school," she said, smiling.

On her list were paper, glue, pencils, scissors, crayons and markers. For Demornae and other children at the Boys & Girls Club, donated school supplies are always needed.

To meet that need, Sen. Alan Nunnelee will host a tailgate party from 5 p.m until 7 p.m. Friday near the Tupelo High School front gate before the football game with Amory. Anyone who brings school supplies for Boys & Girls Clubs will get a barbecue sandwich.

"Many families do what my family does every year," Nunnelee said. "They buy all the supplies their kids need. But there are some families in the community who cannot afford the basic supplies for learning. They either have to do without or the teacher supplies them. Neither of these is acceptable."

This is the fourth year the Nunnelee family has hosted the tailgate party, and each year, people have donated "far more school supplies than I thought," he said.

"We'll take any school supplies - paper, notebooks, crayons, anything a child needs to be a success at school," he said.

Boys & Girls Club spokeswoman Debbie Hall said any way the agency can get school supplies to students is wonderful.

A United Way agency, Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi has 1,500 members and serve about 600 children daily, she said.

Beginning a tradition

The tailgate party tradition began after Nunnelee saw an advertisement showing how many children could not afford school supplies, Hall said.

"After talking with several teachers about this, he realized that students without supplies will go without and borrow from others, or they will resort to stealing supplies, or their teachers will assist those students with funds from their own pockets," she said. "The tailgate party has become a way of responding to this need."

For more information, call Hall at 841-6504.

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