I get a lot of emails about posting to the blog. Most are from outside of our community. This one came from our community and I am thrilled to post this information from “The Kindness Pantry” :
It only seems fair that all of our children have access to school supplies and a snack to eat during snack time, no matter the family’s circumstances. With that belief in mind, The Kindness Pantry was founded by Greta Luhar, Sara Miller, Christy Emanuel, Ashleigh Lowery, and Liz Nudo this past Fall. The women, all friends and neighbors in Maple Lawn, were determined to help all of our children in our 42 elementary schools in Howard County. Their children belong to the Fulton Elementary School community, where the first Kindness Pantry was set up.
In November 2019, Luhar spoke to the principal, Dr. Burks, and school counselor, Mrs. Shields, to get the first pantry in the county set up at FES. With the generosity of their neighbors in Maple Lawn, the pantry at FES was fulfilled in a day. That kindness encouraged the team to reach out to all the principals and school counselors at the elementary schools to determine if there was a need for school supplies and snacks. While some schools said they were well supported and are happy to join The Kindness Pantry’s efforts, other schools were so appreciative of the community’s support for their students and teachers. To date, 16 elementary schools have a Kindness Pantry set up in their schools. Working closely together, these five women have contacted all of the elementary schools and set up Amazon wish lists for the schools in need of supplies and snacks for their students. Then, they post the list on their website and Facebook page. Anyone from the community can click on the link, purchase school supplies or snacks, and the items get delivered directly to the school. The idea is simple but has made a great impact on so many students already. The Kindness Pantry is an operation that has taken time and awareness, so that we, as a community, can work together to support all of our children’s education.
The team agrees that the two biggest blessings from the county wide redistricting Fall’s redistricting proposal were that (1) the members of the Howard County community had a chance to meet so many people in our neighborhoods who want to help the children in our county and (2) we shed some light on the needs of some schools and students in our county. The need is great in some of our schools. They believe, as a community, we can take care of all of our children. And they have found that the citizens of Howard County have taken it upon ourselves to help each others’ children and communities.
The support from the Howard County community has been overwhelming. The Kindness Pantry have had several Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), neighborhoods, and local businesses reach out to ask how they can help fulfill school lists. Just last month, Families for Education Improvement (FEI), partnered with The Kindness Pantry and generously donated all the items on Stevens Forest Elementary School’s list. Simply donating school supplies and snacks to our children who need them in Howard County is one of those examples of how you never know the impact your kindness has on someone’s life.
The women have been working hard over the last three months to support the elementary schools. Several elementary schools, including Fulton ES, Centennial Lane ES, Gorman Crossing ES, and Manor Woods ES, just wrapped up the first Kindness Pantry school supply and snack drive at their schools and collected over 500 school supplies! All the donations will be distributed to the schools that need them. As the initiative expands, the first Kindness Pantries will be set up at three of our middle schools this week. School counselors and principals have all written to The Kindness Pantry team to thank the team and the entire community for taking the lead in helping the children in our county. The bottom line is that no matter the child’s background, he or she deserves access to school supplies to feel uplifted and be on the path to success.
The goal over the next several months is of course to fill the pantries at the elementary and middle schools, but also to make more people throughout the county aware of the needs in many of our schools and how joining The Kindness Pantry’s mission can help children all over Howard County. While many parts in Howard County are wealthy, there are pockets of neighborhoods all over the county that are in great need. We have to focus attention on the schools and students that need some support.
If you are interested in how The Kindness Pantry works, please visit their website and Facebook page – The Kindness Pantry. There, they post the wishlists for each school. Community members donate items and the school supplies and snacks are delivered directly to the school. If you have any questions or are interested in helping our children of Howard County, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all of the difficulties that the redistricting process brought us…it is good to see positive changes like this in our community.
I hope this group continues to do good things for our community now and going forward for many years.
I want to thank the organization for sending me this information to post on the blog. I really love supporting local stuff that helps our community.