(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — A back to school supply drive led by state Rep. Bob Merski will begin on Friday, Aug. 19.

“School supply shopping can take a big bite out of a family’s budget, and that’s especially true this year with prices on the rise,” Merski said. “We partnered with schools in the Erie City, Harbor Creek, Fort LeBoeuf, Iroquois and Wattsburg Area school districts to find out what items are most needed.”

This year, Merski said, families highlighted a need for personal care items like deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and socks.

“Folks in our community have always responded generously to these drives, and I’m encouraging residents who can afford it to consider donating again this year. It can make a big difference,” Merski said.

Requested items are:

  • Markers — highlighters, color markers, dry-erase markers and permanent markers.
  • Pencils, erasers (pencil top and large pink erasers), colored pencils, pencil boxes and pens.
  • Crayons, student scissors and sticky notes.
  • Backpacks, three-ring binders, folders and lined paper.
  • Tissues and hand sanitizer (large, classroom-sized bottle).
  • Personal care items such as deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes and hair ties.
  • Socks.
  • New shirts in solid colors with collars, youth sizes S-XL.

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The drive runs through Sept. 19. Donations can be dropped off from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Merski’s office (3901 Liberty St.), Eastside YMCA (2101 Nagle Road), Glenwood Park YMCA (3727 Cherry St.), or to any Erie Federal Credit Union office.