NORWAY — A total of 25 students were outfitted with backpacks filled with school supplies as they returned to school this week after a generous outpouring of donations to a Norway Town Office drive from local residents.

The campaign was started less than two weeks ago by Norway General Assistance Administrator Shannon Moxcey after receiving calls from parents asking if there were any programs designed to help needy students get the school supplies they could not afford to buy.

Not only did residents donate enough items to fill backpacks for 25 Norway students, ages 5 through 18, but there was enough left over to donate the rest of the items to two families in Paris who lost everything — including the school supplies for five children they had bought — in a fire last week.

On Friday, Aug. 22, an early-evening blaze gutted the two-story duplex at 45-47 Nichol St., leaving two families homeless.

“Norway residents were so receptive to the idea and so generous, that I plan to ask the town manager of West Paris and South Paris if they would like to be part of my school-supply drive next year,” Moxcey said.

Moxcey said the General Assistance and Salvation Army programs she oversees for the town are designed to help with basic needs only and generally do not provide for school supplies. Because she is not a teacher or directly involved with the school district, she could not apply for many resources that are directed toward the schools.

Moxcey said she got Town Manager David Holt’s “100 percent” cooperation to set up a donation box in the lobby of the Norway Town Office. With a $100 donation from the Salvation Army, the project was started.

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