One School at a Time: Emmons Elementary Wins Martin’s Grant

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - When you think of school supplies, pencils and paper usually come to mind. But there are other essentials too, and there are many teachers who spend their own money to buy these extra things for their students.

Mishawaka’s Emmons Elementary makes sure kids have everything they need to succeed in the classroom. They just got a $1,000 One School at a Time grant to help them achieve their goals.

They plan to use the money to purchase everyday items that people take for granted. Things like laundry soap, deodorant, combs, brushes, and dry shampoo.

5th-grade teacher Amy Darnell wants to help students get ready for their school day.

“Anything for them to feel clean and come to school ready to learn because a lot of our kids don’t have that in their lives,” said Darnell.

She nominated Emmons Elementary for a One School at a Time grant, to help stock their Care Closet.

“We are a lower socio-economic school and so, what we think of basic needs, people in the community don’t realize for some it’s really hard to meet that and the pandemic didn’t do anything to help our families and our society,” said Darnell.

Soon the school will have its own washer and dryer, purchased through another grant. That’s going to help a lot. Until now, the staff took things home and washed it themselves.

“Some kids come to us every day and then we change their clothes every day because they are dirty, and then we give them new clothes,” explained Deb Lewinski, Emmons Elementary Assistant Principal. “So if we can wash them and return them it just makes us happy. It makes them happy too.”

A peek inside the closet tells the story.

“We have tons of shirts. Our bottoms are definitely our greatest needs,” said Darnell. “We’re running low. We go through pants a lot. Very, very quickly so, we’re always in need of bottoms.”

Donations of clothes and shoes are always welcome to help fill their shelves to keep kids learning.

“I just want them to have access to that. Not only to have access, but that it’s ok. That it’s just normal for them to say I need help. Not to be embarrassed not to be shy that we’re here to support them and that we love them exactly as they are, but giving them what they need so that that day, they can be successful,” said Darnell.

Stocking these shelves with care…from Martin’s.

“Thank you, Martins!” said Darnell.

If you would donate clothes, shoes or supplies to Emmons, you may drop them off at the office or contact the school at 574-254-4600.

If you would like to nominate your school for a One School at a Time grant, click this link: