Area family needs help with school supplies - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Area family needs help with school supplies, many others in similar situation


Eau Claire (WQOW)- The start of a new school year is just days away, while some children are filling their backpacks with pens, folders and notebooks there are others who may have to enter the classroom without the supplies they must have.

Frank Brewer and Rhondeana Dash will send six of their eight children off to school in September. Their youngest, Neely Ann, will stay behind, at a hospital in Milwaukee where she has been since June.  "She got sent to Marshfield for heart failure initially," says Frank, "And then when she got to Marshfield they didn't know what was wrong with her so they sent her to Milwaukee."

The family soon found out Neely had been born with two very rare conditions. "When you're born you got two veins in your head her veins never split and normally they split, so she had an oversized vein in her head and they had to coil them off," explains Frank. "When they did it, she burst on the second time so she had a stroke." Frank describes his daughter's second condition by saying "Her heart doesn't burn the long fatty cells that your body produces, so they have to give her oils to supplement that."

Frank and Rhondeana split their time between Milwaukee, and their home in Lake Hallie. The constant traveling and medical bills have added up quickly. Frank says, when it came time to buy school supplies there was no money left in the family budget. "Right now we're living paycheck to paycheck and it's hard when you're a parent and you've got to tell your kid we've got to wait a minute."

"If you're on a fixed income and you're looking at buying a backpack and supplies you need about $60.00 to fulfill the request," remarks Mary Clay Santineau with Starting Points. Starting Points, in Chippewa Falls, helps families or individuals who are struggling, and those who are homeless. Already this year, they've handed out over $9,000.00 in school supplies.

"There are so many people who've lost their jobs, or have jobs and they're making just enough to skate by," adds Mary.  After emptying nearly all of their supplies, the organization says calls continue to come in, from families in need of a little extra help.

You can help area kids by dropping off school supplies at Starting Points. They're located on Spruce Street in Chippewa Falls. Mary says they especially need donations of new or used graphing and scientific calculators. The number for Starting Points is (715) 726-7937.

School supplies are also being collected within the Eau Claire School District. Last fall, WQOW News 18 told you about the more than 200 homeless students in the school system. Already this year, 22 more students have been referred to the district's homeless program. Most of those students are relying on the program to provide necessary school supplies.

That program is still in need of basic items:

Glue sticks (large and small)

Crayola markers (thin and regular)

Crayola colored pencils

Elmer's glue




Looseleaf paper (wide rule)

Pocket folders


Plastic storage bags (gallon and quart size)

Flashdrives scientific calculators (new or used)

Post-it notes

You can drop off donations at the district office on Main Street in downtown Eau Claire. If you have questions call (715) 797-6751.

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