WEAKLEY COUNTY (August 4) – Local communities are doing what they can to make sure students and their families have one less worry when school resumes. Across Weakley County, local governments, individuals, churches and organizations are raising funds and purchasing needed pencils, markers, paper and more.
Now in its second year of providing for students at Greenfield School, the effort, organized by the City of Greenfield, nets a lot of joy.
“Last year, we saw smiles. It’s like Christmas,” noted principal Jeff Cupples when Mayor Cindy McAdams and city employees Callie Smithson and Tony Stout delivered boxes of supplies last week.
With five more churches joining the philanthropic project this year, organizers were able to add some supplies for not only elementary students who were covered last year, but middle schoolers as well. Approximately 300 students benefit from the more than $10,000 of school supplies.
Both Cupples and vice-principals Jamie Doster and Matt Butler received the gifts and expressed thanks to the city as well as the other providers – Greenfield Banking Company, Greenfield Church of Christ, Greenfield United Methodist Church, Johnson’s Tabernacle Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, DayStar Ministries, First United Pentecostal Church, Moore’s Chapel Baptist Church, Lighthouse Apostolic Church, Bethel Baptist Church, and the Greenfield Kiwanis Club.
The Charger Foundation in Martin raised $20,000 towards a goal of $29,291 that will cover the costs of providing for 1,723 students in Martin Primary, Martin Elementary, Martin Middle and Westview. The estimated cost of supplies per student is $17.
“The Charger Foundation has wanted to provide school supplies to students for a few years and decided this was probably a great year to start,” said Foundation Chairperson Elizabeth Pritchett. Jennifer Hays, a board member of the Charger Foundation, is chairing the project.
Brian Smith serves as the Foundation’s overall fundraising chair. When confronted with the challenge, Pritchett notes he offered, “If I have to grill hamburgers every week in the park, we will do this.”
Smith’s grilling is not needed, however, since the community is providing the needed funds.
“The City of Martin immediately stepped up and supported the project,” noted Pritchett. “Several businesses have donated a percentage of sales. We have received donations from many individuals, civic clubs, banks, and churches.
“All donation sizes are helpful and so appreciated,” she added.
One delivery of the items in bulk is complete and currently housed at Martin Elementary. The second delivery is anticipated this week and will ensure essentials for all schools are covered and waiting for the students at their schools. With nearly $10,000 still needed to cover all the costs of supplies, donations are still accepted.
As Pritchett points out, “The more we collect on this project, the more we will be able to support the four Martin schools in other areas of academics, arts, enrichment and STEM.”
Contributions can be made via: PayPal at https://paypal.me/ChargerFoundation or mailed to P.O. Box 765, Martin, TN 38237.
Though other communities do not have formal drives, making sure children have the resources they need to start school is a priority for administrators.
For instance, at Sharon School, Principal Michelle Clements is grateful to have a list of individuals and churches to whom she can readily turn if there is a need. Those include Victory Baptist, Corinth Church, New Salem Church, Steve and Christy Fulcher, Gary Eddings, and Martin and Jennifer Hamlin.
Lee Lawrence, principal at Gleason, expresses gratitude for First United Methodist Church’s continuing support of the school through God’s Clothes Closet, which offers school clothing for students. He also thanks Gleason First Baptist Church for supporting students during the closure as volunteers with the meal distribution program.
On Tuesday, Wendell Verdell delivered a $500 check to Lawrence from the Gleason Woodmen of the World.
Melanie Needham, principal at Dresden Elementary, has recently been notified Dresden Rotary will be meeting some needs of Dresden Schools in the coming weeks. Details are coming soon, she says.
The school’s PTO also has a tradition of collecting supplies from businesses, local churches, and community members as part of the “Mr. Laughrey’s Locker” school supply drive each year.
“We are appreciative of any donations that help our students and teachers,” she said.
Dresden High School Counselor P.K. Kelley noted, “DHS is very fortunate to have several local churches and individuals as well as the Dresden Rotary Club that are always willing to help when a need arises.”
While some donors focus on the students and specific schools, Jennifer Killebrew, the Circuit Court Clerk, chose this year to reach out to the teachers and try to meet needs from across the county. Her efforts resulted in more than $500 in teacher supplies delivered to the Board of Education offices Tuesday. The supplies will be shared with each of the schools.