MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Madison County is packing a lot of goods to fill a need at one of its schools. Riverton Elementary School has a closet stocked with the basics that’ll help students focus in school.
“Think about the whole family, they get stuff for them and their brothers and sisters,” said assistant principal Rachel Evans. Students take home stuff like shirts, school supplies, and shelves of canned goods ready to get into the hands of a child in need.
Step into the Care Closet
“This is my 15th year teaching,” kindergarten teacher Lisa Goodwin said. “It seems to be year after year more and more children are needing clothes and food.”
So Goodwin and Evans stock what they call the Care Closest.
“We have children that come here in the morning and sometimes they don’t get breakfast at home, they don’t bring a snack to school,” Goodwin said. The students at Riverton have unlimited access to the pantry. No child is turned away. If it’s in the pantry, they give it, no questions asked.
“For students,” said Goodwin, “in order to teach them, they’ve got be clothed properly and they’ve got to have their stomachs fed or they’re not going to be able to learn.”
How you can keep it stocked
There’s a freezer inside the Care Closet. Riverton’s social worker hand-delivers frozen meat products to students’ homes every week. House of Harvest provides the meat regularly.
“We have several parents at Riverton who have expressed interest in helping but they work full time, so it’s very difficult for them to help us,” said Evans.
Some kids can’t carry a load of groceries to keep the pantry full. The school found another way to ship in the products without inconveniencing parents and still getting their help.
How you can help, even if you’re busy
“So we created an Amazon wish list and all they have to do is go on, click a button, choose what they want and it’s delivered straight to our school,” said Evans. “We’ve already gotten dozens and dozens of boxes from working families.”
The Amazon wish list is under the name “RES Care Closet.” Most of the items online are underwear, draw-string backpacks, and non-perishable canned pasta and meat. Food and clothes come at no cost to the students at Riverton Elementary School.