Recognizing the challenges that local educators and students are facing this year, Columbia Economic Development (CED) partnered with the Black Public Relations Society – Columbia Chapter (BPRS Columbia) and six local businesses to run a School Supply Drive to donate supplies to Richland County School Districts One and Two.

“Columbia Economic Development is proud to support our local educators, who have been working diligently to meet the challenge of providing a virtual education experience for our children,” said Ryan Coleman, Director of Columbia Economic Development. “We are thankful for all of the time and effort our teachers and administrators have been putting in, and we’re honored to partner with the Black Public Relations Society and our local businesses to help collect school supplies. Thank you for all of your hard work, you have our utmost respect and gratitude.”

The School Supply Drive ran from August 26 to September 23, with a total of nearly $1,000 in school supplies provided through donation boxes in the lobbies of local businesses. Donations included earplugs, reusable water bottles, cleaning supplies (hand sanitizer and wipes), writing supplies (pencils, pens, highlighters, etc.), arts and crafts supplies (scissors, crayons, glue sticks, etc.), and other school gear (lunch boxes, backpacks, calculators, etc.).

“We’re excited to have partnered with the Office of Economic Development to collect school supplies for Columbia area school districts,” said Erika Dawkins, President of BPRS Columbia. “The Black Public Relations Society – Columbia Chapter understands the importance of education and giving back, and putting those two things together allows up to help ensure Columbia area teachers and students have one less thing to worry about during these unprecedented times. We’re thankful for all of the local businesses that stepped up to help us with this supply drive and we’re even more thankful to be of assistance to local schools and students.”

CED and BPRS would like to thank the following businesses for playing a major role in collecting school supplies for local schools:

Rhodes Branding – 2628 Millwood Avenue

Cost Cutters Hair Salon – 5510 Forest Drive

ERG Payroll & HR – 810 Dutch Square Boulevard

LS3P – 701 Lady Street

J Brown Studio – 5910 Garners Ferry Road

Palmetto Yoga & Reiki Center – 111 Sparkleberry Crossing Road

“LS3P understands the importance of school supplies to teachers and students throughout Richland County who need extra help from the community during this unprecedented time,” said Annie Linn Johnson, LS3P. “The Architecture, Interiors and Planning firm collected various much-needed school supplies to donate to School Districts in Columbia. LS3P is honored to have partnered with the City of Columbia Economic Development and the Black Public Relations Society to host a school supply drive in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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