The seven trash bags were bursting with coats, scarves, hats, gloves and sweatshirts. Organizers of the Coats for Clinton campaign couldn’t remember a larger stack in the program’s 10 years.
The stack alone had Linda Kern, faculty care coordinator at Clinton Elementary, teary eyed. But the check donation had her speechless.
More than $1,200 was donated during this year’s annual School of Natural Resources’ campaign for the school just a few blocks west of Hardin Hall. The school at 1520 N. 29th St. has 543 enrolled students, 92 percent who are in the free- or reduced-price lunch program and 41 percent who take a backpack of food home each Friday so their families can eat through the weekend.
“In Lincoln, we tend to forget there are families living in extreme poverty because when we see Lincoln, we don’t immediately see the underprivileged,” Kern said during the Coats for Clinton drop-off Dec. 9. “You have to make an effort to see it.”
Many children at the school are living it every day, and Coats for Clinton will make a big difference in their lives, she said.
“In the last week alone, I’ve probably given out 12 to 13 coats from our stock room,” she said. “Realistically, that number will continue to grow. Now, I can guarantee every child can count on having a coat and mittens this winter.”
For two weeks, SNR collected new and gently used winter gear in sizes 5 to 16 for the students at the school. Gift cards and monetary donations also were collected. Each of those items will be repackaged in holiday gift bags and given to students’ parents based on needs, Kern said. Parents will pick up those items, as well as holiday food boxes, on Dec. 22 and 23, just in time for Christmas break.
“On behalf of all the families and the children, thank you for your thoughtfulness,” she said.
The annual collection drive was organized for the first time in 2007 by former SNR recruiter Jennifer Aerni and the SNR Community Engagement Committee. This year was the 10th time the committee has dropped off winter gear at the school.
“It’s always a rewarding experience to help with the coat drive,” said Dee Ebbeka, Community Engagement Committee member. “SNR faculty, staff and students have adopted it and kept it going strong. I wish you could all have seen the gratitude they have for your efforts.”
—Shawna Richter-Ryerson, Natural Resources
More details at: http://snr.unl.edu