By Lily Belcher
On August 20, Melanie Brockmeier-Jordy and her nonprofit organization, Operation Lotus, began collecting donations for the eighth annual Mandy Van Brunt Memorial School Supplies Drive. Operation Lotus is collecting any school supplies, including backpacks, and monetary donations due to the ongoing circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
“In years past, we have had enough supplies to give to four or five Title 1 schools. We hope to be able to meet that this year too. In years past, if we had enough actual supplies, we would give the schools the monetary donations to be used for kids to attend field trips who could not afford it,” said Brockmeier-Jordy.
Mandy Van Brunt was a teacher at Frost Elementary School in Riverview, where she was known for her humble and caring demeanor towards her students, exemplified in the way she would comfort students with problems at home or give them school supplies when they could not afford their own. In her 15 years of teaching, she worked at Title One schools to not only teach young kids as students but provide them with the care and help as young individuals.
Following her death in 2014, Brockmeier-Jordy started the school supply drive to honor her memory as the selfless and dedicated teacher that walked the halls at Frost Elementary.
“Mandy had a passion for helping underprivileged children,” explained Brockmeier-Jordy. “When I heard of death eight years ago, I never dreamed that eight years later we would still be going strong and helping schools in her memory. This community has made it possible for eight years now, and I’m super grateful for that.”
The school supplies will be distributed the week after the drive ends to four or five schools, one of which will be Frost Elementary School.
For those who want to drop off school supplies, contact Elaine Delavan at 768-1708. Checks can be sent to Operation Lotus at 15509 Avocetview Ct., Lithia, Florida 33547 or sent via PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Venmo (@operationlotus or @Elaine-Delavan).
For more information about Operation Lotus, email Brockmeier-Jordy at email@example.com or visit its Facebook page @operationlotus.