Summer vacation has just started, but the Ardmore Young Professionals are taking steps to ensure area children are prepared for the upcoming school year.

The organization’s annual school supply drive will begin Monday and runs through Aug. 1. The drive is held in conjunction with The Grace Center, where supplies will be handed out beginning Aug. 6.

Supplies being sought include:

• Crayons

• Construction paper

• No. 2 pencils

• Scissors

• Glue stick

• Highlighters

• 3x5 note cards

• Spiral notebooks

• Hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes

Last year, 600 backpacks were handed out, and a goal of 750 backpacks filled with the school supplies has been set this year.

“The number is based on a need,” says Andrea Anderson, AYP service committee chair. “So many things in our economy are changing, and people need help. These are the staple items a kid needs for school.”

The school supply drive began in 2007, and is one of the core charitable events spearheaded by the AYP.

“This is our big one,” Anderson says. “We also have a coat drive in the fall. This is something we really take a lot of pride in. Education is incredibly important. Anything we can do to enhance the pursuit of education is a worthy endeavor.”

Those interested in dropping off donated supplies can do so at the following locations:

• UPS Store

• BancFirst (both locations)

• Main Street Coffee

• Ardmore Public Library

• The Ardmoreite

• Citizen’s Bank

• Greater Southwest Historical Museum

• Southern Oklahoma Radio Center