“We found a lot of stuff,” she said. “We found some coats, sweaters and shoes, pretty much everything.”
April Banaitis, Jewell’s family liaison has been working tirelessly along with other staff members and principal Patty Lewis to make the resource center a reality.
“I started by reaching out to my friends and then I called consignment stores,” said Banaitis.
Pretty soon, donations started pouring in from various organizations including the Kid to Kid consignment store, Lowe’s, local churches and Atlanta Bread Company. Lowe’s recently donated a $5,000 Toolbox for Education Grant to the school’s resource center.
“Our dream is to use this money to create an active parent center where parents can come to network with others,” said Lewis. “ We hope they attend classes, learn how to support their child at school, get information about resources in the community, and pick up food and clothing for their families.”
The resource center welcomes all Jewell families and Banaitis said word has spread quickly since its opening. In fact, last year, there were about 80 families that regularly picked up bags of food from the school on Fridays. This year, the number has grown to about 180 families thanks to the new resource center.
“We know that they eat at school, but on the weekends, this may be the only food they get,” Banaitis said.
Staff members at Jewell hope that more and more parents will get involved and take on leadership roles to help other families.
“Our most important goal is to strengthen the connection that parents feel to our school, their child’s classroom and their role in helping their child succeed at Jewell,” Lewis said.
Many parents have already expressed their gratitude and commitment to the resource center. They said Jewell truly represents a community that cares.
“I think it’s a really good thing that they’re doing and I just want to say Thank You!” Stubblefield said.