Photo: An example of a Community Care Chest put together for Title I school students. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)
When classes resume for the new school year in early August, students will be expected to have the needed utensils to bring to class: notebooks, pens and pencils, glue sticks, tissue, index cards, and so on.
Some students may not feel ready to return to class, however, because they don’t have a brush, a comb, tooth care products, deodorant, soap, shampoo, or other items that would make them more presentable in the classroom and the hallway, and make them feel better about themselves.
A Southaven business concern, SERVPRO of DeSoto, Tate and Tunica counties, is eliciting business support from the area to help them with an initiative called the Community Care Chest.
Grant Roberts, local SERVPRO general manager, is spearheading the Community Care Chest program and is asking other fellow businesses to join him in the program, targeting youngsters most in need.
The idea is fairly simple. A business adopts a Title I school in the district, as that is where the most need is for this kind of help. That business pledges to supply items for their Community Care Chest during the school year and replenish the chest when it runs low on items.
“The goal is to get a box in the counselor’s office at the school,” said Roberts. “The counselor has a communication with a teacher who tells the counselor that a student needs a toothbrush or toothpaste, so the teacher sends the student to the counselor who gets what he or she needs out of the box.”
When the chest is short of items, the counselor contacts the business, which will then refill the box at the school. The commitment is to do it for the school year.
Roberts is working this year primarily with the Title I schools with hopes to expand the program in the future.
He added there’s been some interest already in the program.
“Currently we’ve had two businesses express interest in helping with it,” Roberts said. “The initial cost for a business is probably going to be about $100 and then, depending on what’s used up in the box, we’re going to go in and replace that as they’re being used by the students.”
Following is the list of Title I schools in the DeSoto County School District that SERVPRO’s Community Care Chest looks to be involved with:
- Horn Lake Elementary
- Shadow Oaks Elementary
- Horn Lake Intermediate
- Horn Lake Middle
- Horn Lake High
- Walls Elementary
- Lake Cormorant Elementary
- Lake Cormorant Middle
- Lake Cormorant High
- Southaven Elementary
- Hope Sullivan Elementary
- Southaven Intermediate
- Southaven Middle
- Southaven High School
To be a Title I school, at least 40 percent of the children in the school must qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Once a school qualifies, they receive federal and state Title money to enhance the programming already in place at the school.
Roberts said from a business standpoint, the Community Care Chest allows SERVPRO to help people in the community.
“It’s a way to give back because without the community there’s no SERVPRO,” Roberts said. “We have to have community support to keep the business up and running.”
From a personal standpoint Roberts wants to help students.
“I just find it more fulfilling helping students in need rather than people who have the means to do other things,” he explained. “Any way we can help kids feel better about themselves and to get them in the doors when they otherwise might stay home because they can’t brush their hair or can’t look presentable. They can be a better person and be active in the school.”
Here are some of the items that will be available in the Community Care Chest:
- Ponytail Holders
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Various Shelf Stable Snacks
“We have talked to the school district and they are excited about the possibilities this program could bring to needy students in DeSoto County,” said Roberts, adding he feels the Community Care Chest program can allow local businesses to help and show they are interested in what goes on in the community.
For more information about the Community Care Chest, email Grant Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.