WEST ORANGE A new partnership between West Orange High and Ivey Lane Elementary will bring much-needed toiletries and snack items to the elementary school’s little Knights in need.
With 336 students and 100% of them on free or reduced-price lunch, Ivey Lane Elementary in Pine Hills always is looking for ways to help its students succeed and thrive, both mentally and physically.
Recently, Julie Sadlier, West Orange High SAC president-elect, helped initiate a search for a washer and dryer to donate to Ivey Lane. Sometimes students will show up in dirty clothes, or they will get dirty playing in physical-education classes throughout the day, so the staff wanted to be able to wash the clothes for them.
“It’s something that the school as a whole has wanted to do for the kids,” said West Area Superintendent Dr. Bridget Williams. “The administration staff really cares about the kids and wants to make sure they’re clean and healthy.”
Sadlier got together with Orange County Public Schools and West Orange community members and was able to obtain a washer from the school system and a dryer from a local resident, which was then donated to the school.
Now, Sadlier wants to take giving back a step further and get more West Orange High students involved.
“West Orange would like to adopt a pay-it-forward type of program,” Sadlier said. “Whether it be sister schools or a teacher whose house recently burned down, we’re teaching our students to give back and be better citizens.”
Sadlier, Williams and Ivey Lane Principal Joscelyn Harold Gladden are now teaming up to create a food pantry for Ivey Lane, modeled after the current one at West Orange High. They also are hoping to be able to gather enough donations for 100 bags of toiletries, food and other necessities to give to the Ivey Lane students.
They are taking donations such as deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, socks, snacks, bottled waters and canned goods to fill the bags and deliver to the students. They hope to have the program up and running within the next few weeks — and eventually to have a permanent pantry at Ivey Lane.
“Ivey Lane does not have a food pantry, so I thought ‘Wow, this would be great for them to adopt one of our schools and create a food and clothes pantry for the kids at Ivey Lane, which is a great way for the students to give back,’” Williams said. “It would empower those kids. You’re sending a strong statement that we care and we’re here and … we’ll make sure you have what you need to care for your family over the weekend.”
Harold Gladden added that sometimes children have many needs outside of the classroom and if the school can be instrumental in meeting those needs the students can be more focused and concentrate on learning.
“I am just very excited and overwhelmed by their partnership with us and that they would want to help us meet the need of our students, in any way that we can support our parents and let them know that we’re concerned about the whole child, not just the education, and we want to make sure the basic needs are meet,” Harold Gladden said.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].