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N.C. National Guard Partners with Community to Support "School Tools"

Charlotte, NC-- Senior Master Sgt. Rick Hergenreter and Tech. Sgt. Tijuana McLean of the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard load donated school supplies. 

The North Carolina National Guard is participating for the fourteenth year in WSOC-TV’s annual “School Tools” drive to collect school supplies for needy students. 

Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Charlotte, NC-- Senior Master Sgt. Rick Hergenreter and Tech. Sgt. Tijuana McLean of the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard load donated school supplies. The North Carolina National Guard is participating for the fourteenth year in WSOC-TV’s annual “School Tools” drive to collect school supplies for needy students. Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Charlotte, NC -- Senior Master Sgt. Rick Hergenreter is interviewed by WSOC-TV news photographer Bill Bruce.  Hergenreter is sharing that the guard will provide the logistical support required to get the supplies from the drop off collection points to the main warehouse.

The North Carolina National Guard is participating for the fourteenth year in WSOC-TV’s annual “School Tools” drive to collect school supplies for needy students. 
Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Charlotte, NC -- Senior Master Sgt. Rick Hergenreter is interviewed by WSOC-TV news photographer Bill Bruce. Hergenreter is sharing that the guard will provide the logistical support required to get the supplies from the drop off collection points to the main warehouse. The North Carolina National Guard is participating for the fourteenth year in WSOC-TV’s annual “School Tools” drive to collect school supplies for needy students. Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Charlotte, NC – Brother and sister Christopher and Kelsey came to WSOC-TV to drop off some book bags, paper and pens. While there, they get a chance to be interviewed and asked why they think their contributions matter.

The North Carolina National Guard is participating for the fourteenth year in WSOC-TV’s annual “School Tools” drive to collect school supplies for needy students. 

Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Charlotte, NC – Brother and sister Christopher and Kelsey came to WSOC-TV to drop off some book bags, paper and pens. While there, they get a chance to be interviewed and asked why they think their contributions matter. The North Carolina National Guard is participating for the fourteenth year in WSOC-TV’s annual “School Tools” drive to collect school supplies for needy students. Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Charlotte, NC. -- Michael Daley offloads a crate of donated school supplies from a NC National Guard truck. Daley, the warehouse coordinator of Classroom Central, a non-profit organization created to to provide free supplies to the children of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. The NC National Guard Counter Drug Task Force is directly helping the with the non-profit and several businesses in the Charlotte area by participating in School Tools, a campaign to collect school supplies for needy children.  Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.

Charlotte, NC. -- Michael Daley offloads a crate of donated school supplies from a NC National Guard truck. Daley, the warehouse coordinator of Classroom Central, a non-profit organization created to to provide free supplies to the children of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. The NC National Guard Counter Drug Task Force is directly helping the with the non-profit and several businesses in the Charlotte area by participating in School Tools, a campaign to collect school supplies for needy children. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.

Charlotte, NC. -- Michael Daley pushes a crate of donated school supplies from a NC National Guard truck. Daley, the warehouse coordinator of Classroom Central, a non-profit organization created to to provide free supplies to the children of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. The NC National Guard Counter Drug Task Force is directly helping the with the non-profit and several businesses in the Charlotte area by participating in School Tools, a campaign to collect school supplies for needy children.  Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.

Charlotte, NC. -- Michael Daley pushes a crate of donated school supplies from a NC National Guard truck. Daley, the warehouse coordinator of Classroom Central, a non-profit organization created to to provide free supplies to the children of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. The NC National Guard Counter Drug Task Force is directly helping the with the non-profit and several businesses in the Charlotte area by participating in School Tools, a campaign to collect school supplies for needy children. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.

Charlotte, NC. -- A crate labeled "Counter Drug Task Force", sits full of donated school supplies in the warehouse of Classroom Central, a non-profit organization created to to provide free supplies to the children of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. The NC National Guard Counter Drug Task Force is directly helping the with the non-profit and several businesses in the Charlotte area by participating in School Tools, a campaign to collect school supplies for needy children.  Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.

Charlotte, NC. -- A crate labeled "Counter Drug Task Force", sits full of donated school supplies in the warehouse of Classroom Central, a non-profit organization created to to provide free supplies to the children of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. The NC National Guard Counter Drug Task Force is directly helping the with the non-profit and several businesses in the Charlotte area by participating in School Tools, a campaign to collect school supplies for needy children. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.

Charlotte, NC. -- A crate sits full of donated school supplies in the warehouse of Classroom Central, a non-profit organization created to to provide free supplies to the children of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. The NC National Guard Counter Drug Task Force is directly helping the with the non-profit and several businesses in the Charlotte area by participating in School Tools, a campaign to collect school supplies for needy children.  Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.

Charlotte, NC. -- A crate sits full of donated school supplies in the warehouse of Classroom Central, a non-profit organization created to to provide free supplies to the children of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. The NC National Guard Counter Drug Task Force is directly helping the with the non-profit and several businesses in the Charlotte area by participating in School Tools, a campaign to collect school supplies for needy children. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.

Charlotte, NC. -- A sign displays parters in a worthy cause - the North Carolina National Guard works with WSOC, BB&T, Subaru and others help collect school supplies for needy students. Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis.

Charlotte, NC. -- A sign displays parters in a worthy cause - the North Carolina National Guard works with WSOC, BB&T, Subaru and others help collect school supplies for needy students. Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis.

Charlotte, NC -- As schools in the Mecklenburg and its surrounding counties ready to open for the coming fall semester, once again, the guard joins with WSOC-TV, Communities in Schools, and Classroom Central to collect school supply donations for needy students.

"This is our fourteenth year of helping to provide logistics for this worthwhile effort," says Senior Master Sgt. Rick Hergenreter, who is part of the Guard' s Drug Demand and Reduction Taskforce. "Last year over 40,000 young people benefited from our efforts."

The need is great. In Mecklenburg County alone, more than half of all students are economically disadvantaged, so many of these early learners will show up on the first day of school empty handed. Worse still, with the present overall state of the economy, charitable giving has declined significantly.

Indeed, in Mecklenburg County, the 2009 School Tools campaign saw a 23 percent decrease in the amount of donations received over the previous year but the number of schools needing support increased by 24 percent.

The guard's role is to provide trucks and workers to transport the donated school supplies from collection sites scattered throughout the region to a non-profit agency called "Classroom Central". From this warehouse, the free supplies are distributed to schools and teachers requesting them.

This year some of the most needed items include: pens, pencils colored pencils, markers, highlighters and erasers. Donations can be dropped off at area BB&T branches and at Charlotte Area Subaru dealers. Of course contributions can also be brought to the Classroom Central at 2116 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte NC. www.classroomcentral.org.

The campaign continues through the end of August.