OPS Project Help uses Goodfellows’ $15K donation to give students proper clothing
The student’s shoes are too small.
A student shows up to school wearing clothes that don’t fit or have holes and stains.
A student’s coat is too light to block out the bitter Nebraska winds.
Omaha Public Schools students occasionally come to school without clothes that make them feel confident and ready to learn.
“Children cannot reach their full potential in school when their basic needs are not met,” said Tammie Mills, school nurse at Liberty Elementary.
When teachers at 50 OPS schools notice these students, they can send them to the school nurse, who hands out new sweatpants, shoes, shirts, underwear or socks from Target that were purchased using money from Goodfellows, The World-Herald’s charity.
A change of socks can “make a difference for students in the classroom,” said Lindsey McGranaghan, school nurse at Castelar Elementary.
Goodfellows gave OPS Project Help $15,000 for the 2018-19 school year. The district identified the 50 district schools with the highest need, and those schools received $300 in Target gift cards to purchase items.
The total includes 37 elementary schools, seven middle schools and six high schools.
Goodfellows has been giving money to OPS Project Help since at least 1999.
The schools rely on donations like the one from Goodfellows to keep kids in proper clothing, McGranaghan said.
With the gift cards given to her school, McGranaghan estimates that she bought 20 pairs of pants, five pairs of shoes, 10-15 shirts, four packs of underwear and two packages of socks.
The items come in handy when kids show up without proper clothes, need a change of clothes after an accident or spill food on themselves.
Sometimes, students who wear the same clothes day after day are embarrassed. McGranaghan said she doesn’t make a big deal of giving out the clothes, but the students always are grateful.
“You can just tell they are much happier to have something clean on,” she said.
Crystal Boyd, lead engagement specialist in Student and Community Services for OPS, said nurses are trained to identify students who might need assistance.
The clothes help students’ families who might be facing difficulties in multiple areas of their lives.
“Having the opportunity to assist with clothing needs, even if it is a change of pants, can allow the family to focus on other needs and know their child has something to wear to school that day or the next,” McGranaghan said.