Simple contributions help empower children in need.

Every child should head to school with the tools and confidence they need to succeed.

But for many youngsters from troubled families, it's sometimes a challenge to even be equipped with the basic essentials.

One local organization that understands their plight is working to make sure more of those students head off to school on the right note.

Spirit of the Plains, CASA the local Court Appointed Special Advocates agency is reaching out for assistance from generous individuals interested in helping CASA provide essential school supplies for abused and neglected children who might not have someone at home looking out for their educational needs.

CASA works to provide a voice for abused and neglected children. Appointed by court systems, CASA volunteers work for the best outcomes in the legal and social services systems for the children, rather than their parents or others involved in the case.

The courts depend on those individuals committed to serving in the best interests of the many children in such situations. The local CASA agency assisted more than 200 children last year.

But like so many social services agencies these days, CASA must brace for the fallout of mindless governmental budget cuts made with little regard for the more vulnerable people in our communities.

So, CASA could use help from others.

One welcome contribution came recently from the New Jersey-based charity One Simple Wish, which donated 50 backpacks that CASA plans to fill with the school supplies local students need.

They're seeking such donations as notebook paper, pencils and crayons. Gift cards and cash contributions also are welcome. Details on suggested donations are available from Spirit of the Plains, CASA, at (620) 271-6197.

For many abused and neglected children, their CASA volunteer becomes the one constant and dependable adult presence in their lives. By making a simple contribution as part of the school supplies drive or during other CASA fundraising efforts throughout the year more people could make a difference in the lives of many children in need.

Pitching in with some basic, affordable school supplies would be one easy way to be part of that important mission.