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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Several grassroots efforts are sprouting to help needy Cleveland-area children get school supplies and uniforms.

They’re necessary because the troubled economy has worn away resources. The cash-strapped Cleveland school district, which last year gave away thousands of free uniform vouchers, cut them out of its 2010-2011 budget.

Also, the Kids in Need Resource Center, a Cleveland nonprofit that gives donated school supplies to teachers, is suffering financially.

The all-volunteer agency, which has grown from serving 25 Cleveland and East Cleveland schools to 165 since it began a decade ago, can’t keep shipping, sorting and warehousing supplies without a paid staff.

“We can no longer do it without major sponsorship from the community,” said Barbara Behn Deeds, the unpaid executive director.

The organization last year received $1.8 million in donated goods from companies — things like notebooks from Target, discontinued crafts from Joann Fabrics and obsolete promotional items from National City Bank.

The items are given to grateful teachers like Janette Brown of Kenneth Clement Boys Leadership Academy in Cleveland, who last year grabbed pencils and notebooks as well as birdhouses for her kindergartners to paint.

“It’s been very helpful. I’ve gotten some nice things,” Brown said.

Deeds said that although the economy shrank her corporate sponsorships, she’s heartened that the number of companies and groups offering to organize school supply drives has zoomed from four to 12.

“We are getting far more. People really want to help,” she said.

View full sizePDA line of glue sticks is packed in a bin on one of many shelves of school supplies in the warehouse of the Kids in Need Resource Center.

To contact Kids in Need Resource Center, call 216-361-0840, go online to, or mail donations to 3631 Perkins Ave., Suite 1C, Cleveland 44114.

Other ways to donate to children:

• The Cleveland Teachers Union is collecting school supplies today and Friday..

New and gently used supplies can be dropped off from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at Trinity Commons, 2230 Euclid Ave. Park on the Prospect Avenue side.

Cleveland families may pick up supplies at the location between 12-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday. No identification is required, said union spokeswoman Meryl Johnson.

Uniforms for Kids, a charity operated by Silvermans discount stores, has launched a campaign to outfit Cleveland and East Cleveland students.

Every dollar raised is matched by an anonymous donor and will buy new uniforms at low prices. Tax-deductible contributions can be mailed to Uniforms For Kids, P.O. 22614, Cleveland OH 44122.

Used uniforms can be dropped off for cleaning and recycling at the two Silvermans stores, 1450 Hayden Ave., East Cleveland, and 6601 Harvard Ave., Cleveland.

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