Resource center to provide aid for students in need
OGDEN — Walking through the rows of supplies, people had tears in their eyes.
“This makes the beginning of us being able to supply some of the commodities that our kids really need to be able to succeed. We know if they come to school hungry they can’t concentrate on learning,” said Janis Vause of the Ogden School Foundation. “Their whole emotional health and well-being revolves around some of the basic needs that, to some of our kiddos, aren’t met and through this resource center they’ll be able to be met.”
The new MarketStar Student Resource Center, which is attached to James Madison Elementary School, was welcomed to the public in a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Monday. It will be used to “fill the gaps” in getting immediate help to students and families in need, particularly with students back in Ogden School District classrooms starting this week.
Vause stressed that the Resource Center is for immediate and temporary help. They will be able to also direct students and families to longer-term resources like Catholic Community Services, which had representatives in attendance, and other aid groups.
School employees, mostly counselors, will have access to the center. There will be food, clothing, school supplies, household items and hygiene items available at all times. By keeping track of every item in the center, Vause and the other stakeholders hope to have a better understanding of what is most needed at a given time.
Included in the center’s foodstuffs are both individual canned foods and “dinner-in-a-bag” kits that combine long-lasting items, such as pastas and meal mixes, into one product. Members of the Ogden School District and the community partners worked together to build more “dinner-in-a-bag” sets to hand out when needed.
During the ceremony, Vause read to the public a statement written by Lindsay Florez, a mother who has received assistance from the center, thanking the district for its work to help individuals and families.
The resource center is the result of a collaborative effort by the school district, school foundation and members of the community. It evolved from a food drive held by MarketStar to the physical center it is today. A group of concerned individuals and business who invested in the project were welcomed and applauded for their contributions.
According to Danette Pulley with the MarketStar Foundation, the company hoped to create the right partnerships with the schools and community to be operationally separate from the center.
“When you care, you find ways to make that care happen beyond the walls of your home and beyond the walls of your workplace and really drawing a circle around your community,” Pulley said.
The company is looking to raise $40,000 in October from employees and members of the public to help sustain the center.