You’ve probably heard the age-old phrase, “It takes a village,” in reference to raising children, well in the village of South Webster, this is quite literally the motto.
On August 18, the community partnered with local churches, businesses and other organizations to provide shoes, hair-cuts and school supplies for students at Bloom-Vernon Elementary.
“Last Christmas LifePoint Church had a vision to help kids who received the Steven Hunter Hope Fund Powerpacks, in the Portsmouth City School District. The need was met for Portsmouth City Schools, so Chad Monroe the owner of Monroe’s Cleaning Services, approached me and asked if he could provide this service to our kids in the Bloom-Vernon Local School District with shoes,” explained Bloom-Vernon Elementary School Principal, Sandy Smith. “Without hesitation, we said yes. We never want to turn down a benefit to our kids. For Christmas, 103 of our kids got ‘free to them’ shoes. Monroe’s Cleaning Service, D.W. Swick Funeral Homes, Pinkerman South Webster Community Church, and a couple other folks jumped in and covered the cost. We worked with Scioto Shoe Mart, who sold us the shoes at a discounted price.”
After the Christmas shoe give-away, Smith was contacted by several individuals in the community who expressed interest in helping out, should they ever do another. When it came time for the students to resume school this year, Smith contacted Monroe to see if he would help her organize another shoe giveaway.
“I wasn’t asking Chad for a financial donation, but to help organize it. After the Christmas shoe giveaway, I had a couple other folks contact me and tell me they would like to help if we ever do something like the shoe give again,” said Smith. “I contacted one of the people who asked if they could help, and asked if they wanted to make a donation as we were going to give our kids shoes for back to school. One business offered to pay for all of the shoes. Chad wanted to help with some backpacks and school supplies too. Chad contacted 6 churches and 4 businesses, and all graciously donated either money, backpacks, school supplies, and even t-shirts, for our kids.”
The event started as a way to help families with students in need, and was available to families eligible for the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Power Pack program. But, as support kept flooding in, the donations were distributed district-wide to students of all ages.
Families who received the summer meals were given opportunities to sign their children up for haircuts, back to school shoes, backpacks, and Jeep t-shirts.
After several weeks of sign ups, the families were asked to bring their kids to get their feet measured so that the could get an accurate fit, and also to get measured for the t-shirts.
All families who took advantage of this opportunity by signing their children up and getting them measured for the shoes and t-shirts received their things during the school’s open house. Backpacks were placed inside student cubbies at school so when they arrived to open house, they had their school supplies. Students were fitted with their new shoes, had their feet cleaned, and give new footies to wear with their shoes during open house as well.
“Several community folks volunteered throughout the summer and especially during the evening of Open House to help serve our kids and their families,” said Smith. “Almost every organization that contributed in one way or another was represented during the night of the giving.”
In total, 180 South Webster Jeep t-shirts, 198 backpacks, and 168 pairs of shoes were given to students.
The supplies were made possible the generosity of Monroe’s Cleaning Services, Headlines Hair Salon, Bloom Freewill Baptist Church, Union Freewill Baptist Church, Lifepoint Church, Porter Church, Sciotoville Church of the Nazarene and Christ Sanctuary.
The goal for next year is to fill 1,000 backpacks. For more information about how to become involved, you can contact Chad Monroe through Facebook “Monroe’s Cleaning Services,” or Sandy Smith at 740-778-2281.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook ‘Ciara Conley - Daily Times,’ and Twitter @PDT_Ciara