This past fall, Partnership Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Arnold received a note from Janice Burris a school counselor and Partnership program liaison at Jackson Elementary. Burris had a small request regarding her monthly stipend. “She asked if we might be able to substitute her usual check with a gift card to Plato’s Closet,” Arnold explains. “She mentioned that her students were in need of warm clothing for the upcoming winter months and she would feel better knowing that they were taken care of rather than have the extra spending money,” Arnold continues.
Moved by Burris’ generosity, Arnold reached out to the Partnership’s staff, volunteers, corporate connections and community contacts in hopes that they would support an impromptu clothing drive. “I felt an urgency to help this selfless woman and her classroom, and before I knew it, the idea grew from helping one classroom of students into helping four of our target schools,” Arnold says.
The response to Arnold’s initial appeal was something of a holiday miracle. “We had an overwhelming response. First National Tower, Omaha State Bank, Burlington Capital and Solution One each hosted a clothing bin at their offices,” Arnold says. With the multi-location drop-off sites, Arnold says that more clothing was collected that she ever thought possible. “The office we used to sort the clothing was overflowing into the hallway, and many of the items were brand-new with the tags still intact.”
Arnold wasn’t the only one pleasantly surprised by the community’s outpouring of generosity. “We are so appreciative of the effort and we welcomed the opportunity,” says Jackson Elementary Counselor, Janice Burris. “Our student population has a great need for weather appropriate clothing, especially during the winter months,” Burris explains. “All of the donated clothes went to great use.”
“All of the schools we dropped off at were so excited to receive the donations,” adds Arnold. “Some of them even designated rooms for the clothing donations so students can stop by whenever they might be in need throughout the year.”
To learn how you can contribute to the students and families served by The Partnership For Our Kids, visit us at www.thepartnershipforourkids.org/donate.shtml