WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A non-profit in the Wyoming Valley is making sure every child has the tools they need to succeed in school.

For more than a century, United Way of Wyoming Valley CEO Bill Jones says they have been helping those who need it most.

“We come in and try to get kids the resources that they need so they’re not missing school.”

In an area with over 11,500 children living in poverty, an amount which has doubled since the year 2000, Jones says he has more heartbreaking stories than he can count, such as when officials noticed two brothers were alternating the days they were attending school.

“The school made the assumption that perhaps there was another child at home and the boys had to babysit, it wasn’t nearly as complicated. There wasn’t another child at home. The boys were alternating what days of school they were attending because they were sharing the same pair of sneakers.”

Now the non-profit is working to bring change by donating thousands of dollars to educational programs in the area, joining the campaign for grade-level reading, and providing free books for kids under 5 years old through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

The United Way of Wyoming Valley is giving away over 100 supply boxes to 21 school buildings within 7 school districts in the area. Some of the things you can find inside are toothbrushes, wipes, deodorant, and plenty of the things kids need every day.

Renee Schneider says her kids can be a challenge at times, but thanks to the United Way, they don’t have to miss a lesson.

“Nurse Tracy gives them fresh clothes to wear so they don’t have to run home and I don’t have to run here and keep them out of class. In the past they didn’t have that so then you’d have to run your kid home and bring them back and now there is no time lapse so the education is still there.

Making sure children in the valley stay educated by helping those who need it most every step of the way.

You can find the companion piece to this story in today’s edition of the Times Leader newspaper.