On Friday, June 3rd United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region received a call from the school nurse at a local elementary school. She wanted to know if we could help (or find someone to help) provide the very basic necessities for some of the students there. She said that many of the children did not have underwear or socks and while she had some on hand during the school year (that she purchased herself), she hoped that the children would be able to go home for summer vacation with brand new packages.
That call was the impetus to the Summer Hygiene Kit Supply Drive. United Way sent out an email and members of our community responded with overwhelming generosity. In addition to the elementary school, United Way contacted two city school districts (Poughkeepsie and Newburgh) and expanded the drive to help stock their high school closets for the summer, because they are open year-round for the students of the district.
To date (and donations are still arriving), United Way has received (and distributed) 501 bars of soap, 314 multi-packages of underwear, 210 multi-packages of socks, 300 deodorants, 287 bottles of shampoo, 72 bottles of conditioner, 265 toothbrushes and 178 tubes of toothpaste, 97 bottles of body wash, 81 sunscreens, 87 combs and 20 brushes, 50 razors, and 20 bottles of lotion.
“We were overwhelmed by the response from our community,” stated United Way President & CEO Jeannie Montano. “Within minutes of sending the email request, people were responding that they were instituting drives at their business or that they know of the immediate need in their own schools and want to help. One community member brought boxes of supplies on his motorcycle from a hygiene drive he started at his Bronx firehouse. To see the care and outpouring of support was an inspiration, but to hear from the school officials about how desperately needed these and appreciated these items were was both heartrending and at the same time truly inspirational to all of us.”
William Morgan, the homeless liaison for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, explained that this year he had 880 students in the program who were homeless during the school year. These students and others will be the beneficiaries of hygiene drive items at the Newburgh Free Academy Hygiene Pantry, where they’ll be able to pick up items all summer. In addition to the items that were donated, he and Kerry Butrick Dowling, Community Relations Specialist for NECSD, mentioned the need for laundry detergent. This is something we’ll add to our list for future drives.
After we delivered supplies to Gov Clinton Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, we received this note of thanks that we’d like to share with you:
Dear United Way Family,
On behalf of the Scholars and Families that we serve here at Gov. Clinton Elementary School, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for your overwhelming generosity.
Our mission is to provide a high quality education to Every Scholar, Every Day, in Every Classroom.
Your generosity is a key component to us accomplishing our goal. Your donations allow for the basic needs of some of our scholars to be met.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, fulfilling ones’ potential is predicated upon having basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, rest) met. Your generous donations meet these basic needs and allow us to focus on delivering our Scholars the high quality education they so richly deserve.
I look forward to a continued collaboration.
Thank you again for your generosity.
Mr. David A. Scott, Principal
Gov. Clinton Elementary School
United Way would like to thank everyone who opened their hearts and responded to this urgent need with such alacrity. From a 4-H Club to members of the Air National Guard at Stewart Air Force Base to Family Services, Inc. and members of the Poughkeepsie Garden Club, donations to this hygiene drive have truly made a difference for many of our communities’ children.
We kicked off our back-to-school backpack drive on July 1st. We are looking for donations of new school supplies, including crayons, pencils and erasers, markers, glue, child-safe scissors, pocket folders, and notebooks. These may be dropped off to either our Poughkeepsie or Montgomery offices through August 12th. If you would like to donate funds to purchase the backpacks and/or supplies for kindergartners-in-need in school districts in Dutchess and Orange Counties, please go to www.uwdor.org/backpackdrive16.