Hospital staff donates school supplies to children in need
School supplies donated by Twin Cities nurses and staff
Children from ECHO, N.C. Women’s Shelter and N.C. Social Services received 60 backpacks and 16 gift cards
Twin Cities Community Hospital recently completed its seventh annual “Way Cool Back to School” program to collect and donate new backpacks filled with school supplies for local children in need.
The program, founded in 2006 by Cyndi Allan, RN, at the Emergency Department at Twin Cities Community Hospital, started the program with a small group of nurses who managed to provide classroom essentials for 25 North County pupils; this year, the hospital’s cross-departmental participants collected 60 backpacks and 16, $25 gift cards. Since its first year, Allan says Way Cool Back to School has helped over 450 local children from the ages of 3 – 17.
“The program is aimed at providing key school items that shelter families wouldn’t be able to afford,” Allan explains, listing off supplies like pens, paper, scissors, notebooks and even healthy school snacks.
Way Cool Back to School works in conjunction with ECHO, the North County Women’s Shelter and Social Services in Paso Robles and Atascadero to identify children of all ages that are in need of supplies and to distribute them prior to the beginning of the school year.
“Without this program, many children would show up to class without the basic tools they need to succeed and learn,” Allan says. But she claims that the program gives the children more than just practical tools. “With kids especially,” she says, “if we demonstrate citizenship, values, and caring, they will take the lesson forward when they are in a position to affect change. By giving, by caring, we are also teaching, and leading by example.”
To boost this year’s donations and support from all hospital departments, Allan and other volunteers of the program posted sign-up sheets on staff bulletin boards and break rooms throughout the hospital during the summer months. Allan says she was happy to find that they received a good number of donations from all departments this year, including the Emergency Department, ICU, Med/Surg, Lab, HR Department and Administration. However, she says, she’d love to see even more people get involved.
“Anyone, not just hospital staff, can make a contribution to help the underprivileged children in North County go back to school equipped for success.” To do so, she says, simply fill a backpack full of supplies and drop it off at any local Social Services office. Lists of supplies that are needed for each grade level can be found at the various school supply stores around the community or visit http://www.school-supply-list.com and search the schools by zip code.