- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

GREENWOOD, Ind. (AP) - If a student’s family can’t afford a new coat or mittens, some schools have a fund for that.

Teachers keep granola bars in their desks to help hungry students, and nurses stock extra clothes for students who have accidents.

School supply drives help needy students get the supplies they need to start school, and teachers’ salaries and other expenses are paid out of a school’s general fund.

What schools need to keep some students focused in class goes beyond school supplies.

Greenwood United Methodist Church recently donated more than $2,000 to elementary schools in Greenwood, serving up spaghetti to raise the money. The money will go to help some of the unmet needs the school has besides school supplies, the Daily Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1wvk4em ).

Schools plan to use the money mostly to stock the nursing stations at the schools with extra clothes, sweatpants and underwear for bathroom accidents and hats and gloves for children who need the items, educators said.

“We talked to principals about what they needed throughout the year,” church volunteer Mary Kay Anthony said.

Almost daily, a student needs a change of sweatpants or underwear because of an accident or because they spilled milk on themselves in the cafeteria, principals said.

They can go to the nurse to get a change of clothes, but clothes stocked there would have to be bought by the PTO or teachers without the church donation, Westwood Elementary School Principal Lisa Harkness said.

“Usually the kids will have an accident or spill something on themselves, that happens once a day,” Harkness said.

The church has wanted to meet a need for schools that isn’t readily met elsewhere, Anthony said.

“We are all close to those schools in proximity, we know what the need was,” she said.

Money from the church will help Isom Elementary School with some more basic student needs, Principal Sandy Wooton said.

The school has a student services account that pays for needy students to go on field trips when their families can’t pay, buys eyeglasses for a student in need or provides a grocery gift card for a family with students who don’t know where their next meal on the weekends come from, Wooton said.

“Here our main focus is quality of care of children,” she said. “We want to take care of business they need to so they can get back to class.”

Some students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, which helps with some of the need, principals said.

Principals also may use some of the donated funds to buy a student with an empty lunch account a meal or to give granola bars to teachers to give to students who didn’t eat breakfast.

“If we are wanting kids to learn, we have to have those basic needs met,” Harkness said. “We need to have kids warm, fed and clothed to be able to learn.”


Information from: Daily Journal, https://www.dailyjournal.net

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