Going to school, whether it's for the first time or not, can be traumatic enough — for children and their parents. Showing up without the basic supplies can only add to the stress.

That's what makes the program started three years ago by Nazie Adolfi and Bryan Brockway so valuable. The two Rome men give away school supplies to any child who needs them from the back room of D&D Carpets at 709 E Dominick St. in an effort to make sure students are well-equipped for another year in the classroom.

In a recent interview with the O-D, Adolfi, who owns D&D, said Brockway had mentioned the idea of providing school supplies a few years ago. Thanks to their efforts and the support of a generous community, they collected an assortment of pencils, backpacks, notebooks, pens and numerous other school supplies to pass out to anyone who needed them.

Now they are planning this year's supply drive, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, at D&D. They are collecting donations — the Lake Delta Kiwanis Club has already donated 120 backpacks and a few boxes of notebooks — but the two men also will go shopping for pencils, backpacks notebooks, pens and numerous other school supplies. Anyone else who wants to donate can contact the men through Facebook or drop off supplies/bags at D&D Carpets or call 315-337-2430. Supplies needed: crayons, markers, pencils, pens, colored pencils, erasers, scissors, folders, notebooks, hand sanitizer, tissues, binders, glue sticks, book bags, rulers, small calculates, paper and pencil boxes.

On the day of the drive, families will be able to pick up a backpack and then walk through and pick out whatever supplies they need. Extra supplies will be donated to local teachers who have students that may need something extra.

The Rome giveaway fits nicely with a program started nearly two years ago by the Compassion Coalition in Utica. While the coalition has helped needy children with school supplies for a number of years, nearly two years ago it opened the Teacher Resource Center (Equipped to Teach) at its Lafayette Street warehouse. Here is where teachers can come and "shop" for supplies and take whatever their students need or they can use in their classrooms. It's all free.

The program has grown remarkably since it officially began on Dec, 5, 2017. The coalition's Rachel Daughty said this year they will serve 60 schools from Dolegville to Canastota. Shopping begins the second week in September.

In addition, free school supplies will be distributed today at Johnson Park Center, 26 Johnson Park, Utica, during a "Back to School" party from 5 to 8 p.m. The event was rescheduled from Tuesday due to the weather, according to a news release from the center.

Education is much more than just book learning. A baseball player who shows up at a game without a glove is at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to performance. Likewise, children who lack the essentials in the classroom could find it a struggle to keep up with their better-prepared classmates. As anyone in any profession know, having the right tools can make a difference between success and failure.

The good people who make it possible for all students to be equipped are just one more blessing in this community.