By Lily Belcher
While school may be out for summer, Gibsonton Elementary School is still hard at work helping its students ahead of the school year. Over the summer, Gibsonton Elementary School, which became a community school in 2019 to address student achievement barriers, is collecting shoes (especially athletic and closed-toed shoes), clothes and other supplies for students. The donations will be distributed by school nurse Sherriann Johnson through the on-campus school closet.
Donations to the school drive can be dropped off at Gibsonton Elementary School from Monday through Thursday until 3 p.m. They are also accepting monetary donations, so they can purchase specific shoes and sizes as needed throughout the school year. The shoes will be available to the 500-plus kindergarten through fifth-grade students whose families may not have the ability to provide comfortable, durable shoes to their children.
“Gibsonton students have always had a need. We currently provide new-to-student clothing, hygiene items, school supplies, a weekend backpack program and a food pantry,” explained Community School Coordinator Catherine Gilmore. “Over the last two years, we have tried very hard to make sure the barriers that impact student attendance are met. One of the hardest needs to meet is shoes. Currently, we have an average of four students per week who are in need of shoes.”
While their school supplies drive has seen much success in previous years, Gilmore and the Gibsonton Elementary staff found that basic resources, such as shoes and clothes, are also a necessity for a good education. Gilmore explained that clean clothes and shoes that are not falling apart, things that many take for granted, are the first steps to starting a productive, successful day at school.
“We are hoping to be prepared for the early school year rush. Many families struggle financially after a long summer of children at home, and the beginning of the school year comes with many financial burdens. No student should miss school because they are unable to own a pair of shoes that fit comfortably and are in good repair; however, often this is the case,” said Gilmore.
To donate, bring shoes and supplies to 7723 Gibsonton Dr. in Gibsonton. For more information on how to donate, contact Gilmore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 671-5100, ext. 250.