Retired educator Rochelle Evanousky recognizes that current economic conditions have put pressure on many families of the Tamaqua Area School District.

With the school year fast approaching and the cost of school clothing and supplies a potential burden, Evanousky, Barnesville, and husband Joe, a retired teacher, are engineering a one-of-a-kind, free school uniform drive based at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 101 North Greenwood Street, Tamaqua.

The initiative is currently seeking donations and the drive encompasses all those living within the Tamaqua Area School District.

"This is for the entire community," emphasizes Evanousky, currently overseeing the collection of gently used Tamaqua Area school uniforms, backpacks and school supplies for the 2012-13 school year.

"Because of the current economic difficulties we are all experiencing, we'd like to ease the burden of having area children properly dressed for school," she says.

Notices have been sent to all area churches and Evanousky wants word to spread as quickly and widely as possible in order to maximize the benefit of the program, which will operate independent of funding. In other words, it is being orchestrated through the generosity and graciousness of individuals and organizations such as Zion Church, which volunteered use of facilities.

"No money is changing hands," says Evanousky, who spent a large part of Wednesday sorting through early contributions.

Others who've stepped forward to lend a hand to date include Darlene Fetterman, Lynn Markiewicz, Judy Brennan, Judy Midas, Melody Casler and others.

Clothing will be collected until August 12. Items can be dropped off at the Greenwood Street church during normal business hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, noon until 5 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Distribution will take place on August 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the church. Nobody will be asked to furnish evidence of need, but it is hoped that those who truly require a helping hand will be the ones availing themselves of the program. The public's help and participation is greatly encouraged, said Evanousky.

Questions can be directed to the church office at (570) 668-2180 or by calling Evanousky at (570) 467-3042.

At Tamaqua Area, all students in grades K-12 are subject to a uniform dress code consisting of navy or tan pants, a navy or white shirt, and brown, black or burgundy shoes.

Students may wear white, brown, black, tan or navy sneakers. Shirts can be long or short sleeved, pullover, golf-style shirts with a collar. Students may opt to wear a white dress shirt, buttoned to the base of the neck and tucked in. Students may opt to wear a navy or white turtleneck or t-shirt under the regulation golf-style shirt. Undershirts/undergarments may only be white or navy in color and must be tucked into the pants or skirt.

Pants must be straight-legged dress or casual pants. Pants may not be of the cargo or carpenter style with pockets below the hips, loops, straps, elastic ankles, or other comparable adornments.

Denim pants, jeans, capris pants or shorts may not be worn. Students may wear knee-length skirts or jumpers in tan or navy.

As for footwear, sneakers must be white, brown, black, gray, tan or navy with minimal variation. For instance, a pink Nike swoosh on a white sneaker is acceptable. Shoelaces must be the same color as the sneaker. For example, white sneakers must have white laces; black sneakers must have black laces. No pictures, patterns or words are permitted. Laces must be solid and match the primary sneaker color. Shoes and sneakers may not light up or have wheels. Shoes must have matching laces and must be close-toed. Boots and sandals are prohibited along with shoes with excessive heels. All footwear must have a back that secures the shoe to the foot. Socks may be navy, black, brown, tan or white.

More information is available at: http://www.tamaqua.k12.pa.us/tamaquaasd/lib/tamaquaasd/_shared/K-12%20HA... [1].