With the help of an anonymous donor, the School of Natural Resources Caring for Clinton campaign recently raised more than $2,730, exceeding its $1,000 goal and leaving Clinton Elementary School’s family care coordinator Linda Kern nearly speechless during a Dec. 11 donation drop-off.
“I’m stunned,” said Kern as she stood with the donation envelope in hand. Six large bags of clothing and coat donations laid at her feet. “I feel like words are not adequate. I wish something would come out of my mouth to show how big this is.”
For the elementary school at 29th and Holdrege streets, the donations ensure that students will have access to winter coats, gloves and warm clothes that fit this winter season.
Some 95 percent of the school’s 500 students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and a high percentage of students are also from low-income homes. It is Kern’s job to support those families who are struggling to make ends meet or put food on the table.
This year, Kern said she’s been giving out about three coats each day since the weather turned cold.
“Your donations demonstrate to our families that they are not invisible,” Kern wrote in a thank you note to the School of Natural Resources and campaign donors. “Your compassion and respect for the dignity of our families are qualities we need to practice daily, for there are those around us who are quietly struggling and need the support of others.”
The annual collection drive for Clinton Elementary School began in 2007. That drive, Coats for Clinton, transformed this year when an anonymous donor offered to match up to $1,000 in cash donations.
In one month, the newly branded Caring for Clinton campaign brought in donations ranging from cash and checks to coats, mittens, sweatshirts, boots and pants. One significant donor, Anne Mulligan of Lincoln, donated 50 pairs of handmade mittens to the school.
All of the donations will be passed out to the elementary school students or their families based on need, and special holiday bags are given to the families just before winter break.
“The School of Natural Resources has responded beyond my expectations,” said Dee Ebbeka, who orchestrates the donation drive along with the Community Engagement Committee. “That reflects a community of very kind and considerate people. I feel thankful to be included in such a heartwarming activity.”