Each August, many charities focus their efforts on ensuring all students have the school supplies they need in order to make the grade in the classroom. From crayons and pencils to new clothes, these supply drives ensure that those in need are equipped and ready for the first day of school.

But what happens in the middle of the year when those supplies run dry?

To meet this need, the Denison Area Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Kits for Kids school supply drive through Feb. 16. For the past 11 years, the chamber has used this supply drive to help resupply students and ensure that they have what they need to reach the end of the school year.

“Kits for Kids is more like a drive to as our community, businesses and individuals to raises clothes and mostly school supplies for our students from kindergarten to 12th grade,” Shelly Kisel, director of events and membership for the Denison Chamber, said.

Once the drive is over, these supplies will be distributed among the schools within the Denison Independent School District for their collections of school supplies. The supplies will then be distributed by the schools to students who may not be able to afford new supplies.

Kisel said the program started when the chamber discovered that the supplies from the beginning of the school year often start running out around January or February. In many cases, it would be the teachers who would then end up filling this void, she said.

“A lot of times will just not be able to bring something and many teachers are giving people and will make up that need,” Kisel said.

Among the highest demand items this year are tissues, given the heavy flu season. Other perennial needs include paper, pens and hand sanitizer, she said.

For this year’s fundraiser, Kisel said organizers are asking donors to deliver any supplies to the school district’s administration building, located at 1201 S. Rusk. Prior to last year, the supplies had historically been collected at the chamber itself. This was intended to keep the supplies closer to the schools themselves and make it easier for administrators to collect supplies.

At the end of the drive volunteers from Grayson College will assist in distributing the supplies.

“We are just thankful to have the students from Grayson College here to help participate,” Kisel said.

For more information on the drive, visit www.denisontexas.us.