TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State University students Tuesday carried boxes and bags of food and drinks into Terre Haute’s Franklin Elementary. Hats and gloves, too.
The ISU students brought 48 hats and 48 pairs of gloves, much needed with the arrival of winter-like weather in the Wabash Valley.
In total, the students took about $300 in food and $100 in hats/gloves to the school as part of a social work class project, which they called “Operation for the Next Generation.”
The food included Ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, peanut butter crackers, pudding, applesauce and chicken noodle soup.
Ramen noodles are a big hit with students, said Principal Tina Horrall. “The kids love them,” she said.
“It’s a way to give back to the community,” said Amber Hancher, one of the students. All are senior social work majors.
Donations of items and money came from ISU students and the ISU Residence Hall Association, Kmart and Kmart’s shoppers. The students have worked on the project since September.
The students chose Franklin because they recognize it has one of the highest poverty rates in the school district, said ISU student Alicia Martin.
Also, “We wanted the kids to have a safer winter, which is why we have hats and gloves,” said ISU student Takisha Franklin.
Horrall said the items are much needed and appreciated. “We are extremely grateful,” she said. Many of the donations will go to the school’s Every Minute Counts Superstore, in which students earn “franks” for good attendance and can purchase items in the store.
“Many of our children get themselves up in the morning and come to school, and we reward them for being here,” Horrall said. Often, the children’s parents are working two and three jobs, she noted.
Other items will help students and families in need. She noted the school has a high homeless rate, with families often living double or triple in a single residence.
They may need extra food and “we try to bridge that gap,” Horrall said. She tells those Franklin families, “There is no shame in what life brings you. Just reach out and let us try to help.”
Horrall welcomed the ISU students to come back and mentor or read to the children. “Whenever you all come through, it just helps promote my dream for them that they can go to college, they can do whatever they want to because there are no boundaries or limits,” the principal said.
Rhonda Impink, ISU associate professor of social work, said the class divided into groups and each planned and organized its own project.
The students put theory into practice, Impink said. The project gives them a “new sense of belief in themselves and the importance of what they can do when they come together,” she said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or email@example.com.