It can be a daunting task for anyone to ask for help when it comes to receiving personal hygiene supplies. However, several people at the Heart of the Lakes Elementary School (HOTL) are trying to ease that burden with the creation of the HOTL Care Closet.
HOTL’s Brooklyn Thompson and Eryn Moser have led the charge with a lot of support from the HOTL’s Parent Support Group, the HIVE.
Moser said with her role at school, she deals with a lot of at-risk students who need this support and the idea is something they have pondered for a while, however, now it has come to fruition.
“This summer I found some furniture that we could use to store some items,” Moser said. “There was a need for it with some of the students I see. They needed a place where they could feel safe to ask for help.”
Thompson said the school has received a lot of support from the community and others in the building. She said excitement is starting to build around the project.
“We will be looking for donations throughout the school year of basic hygiene products– shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, combs and stuff like that for kids to use at home and come to school and feeling their best, so they are coming to school ready to learn for the day,” Thompson said.
Both Thompson and Moser say the main goal of the Care Closet is to ease comfort for students, make sure the students know they have a safe place to go and to have a centralized location.
“I think in the past, the nurses had some things, the counselors had some things, I had some things, our classroom teachers had some things and the kids were like where do I go? Even teachers would say who do I go to for help with this? What Brooklyn and I are trying to alleviate is having one spot where kids can come and feel comfortable asking for help. We now have this Care Closet.” Moser said. “Just having one spot so that teachers know, kids know, adults know in our building. It has not necessarily been mismanaged in the past, it was just everyone was trying to do something. It would be nice to have one location that they come to, and the kids know.”
Thompson spent some time recently in the classroom introducing the Care Closet to students in the HOTL and said students have already come up and asked to visit it.
“That helps put them at ease. They know they can find me, Eryn Moser, ask a teacher or whoever they feel the most comfortable going to,” Thompson said. “But I think as the school year starts, they see our faces and our names, and they know we are here to help. We do our best to provide that safe spot for them to come.”
The impact from the HIVE Parent Group has really left its mark on this project. According to Thompson, they have donated funds to get this started and have offered more help with donations to get the hygiene products they are looking for with the Care Closet.
“They have helped figure out a confidential or a safe way for the kids to get these items home. They have been a great help and we appreciate them so much,” Thompson said. “I know they are going to offer more help throughout the year with whatever we need to get this idea going.”
Moser added it is nice to have a purpose with this project and to see the community support behind it. They have received donations from a couple of area businesses and have heard from different community members asking to help.
“I have some adults that come to me and have said that these last couple of years have been hard on kids, how can we help? You take a step back because there is a ton of stuff we could ask for. But, to isolate what is best for kids and what they really need, we wanted to start simple and work towards more things in the future,” Moser said. “The community has been really supportive and had several people reach out asking how they can help. That has been awesome.