ELBERTA - The staff at Elberta Middle School was faced with a problem. They wanted to help those in need in their community, but were having trouble reaching the families. A group of teachers met …
ELBERTA - The staff at Elberta Middle School was faced with a problem. They wanted to help those in need in their community, but were having trouble reaching the families. A group of teachers met with Principal Katy White to discuss what they could do to get donations to the ones who need them the most.
“We receive donations at the school from different retail stores when they clear out their inventory and offer it to us,” White said. “The teachers wanted to know how they could provide for some children that aren’t necessarily provided for or don’t have the means. I have found in my nine years here that we’ll get this inventory and we’ll get these great donations, we’ll call the families that we know need them most, but they’re reluctant to come and get them.”
White says she’s unsure if it’s pride, the hours of school operations, or the fear of being judged by others, but whatever the case, it’s difficult to get the donations to those in need. She said oftentimes the school will receive donations of food, clothing, toys, and health items and then run into difficulty delivering them into the families’ hands.
That was when White pitched the idea of a Blessing Barn to her staff, Elberta Mayor Jim Hamby, and School Superintendent Eddie Tyler.
“A Blessing Barn is a building that has power ran to it for lighting purposes, and it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said White. “Anyone can donate to it, and anyone can come and get whatever they want out of it for free. It’s unmanned so there’s no one frowning upon you or looking or making any kind of judgements about it.”
Her staff members have already volunteered with their student clubs to maintain the Blessing Barn, visiting it daily to organize items and keep it tidy. The Town of Elberta voted unanimously to provide the power to the Blessing Barn and pay the electric bill. All that’s left is for the building to be constructed in the chosen location, behind the Elberta Civic Center.
“I was given the specs we’d need, and I contacted a company and to meet the specs, a ten by twenty building is roughly $4,950 I believe,” White said. “To date I have received over $3,000 worth of donations towards the purchase of the building, and I anticipate another $2,000 to come in. Whatever comes in over the amount of the purchase I’m going to get shelving and whatnot for the building.”
Hamby said the location behind the Civic Center has ready access to power and would be relatively private while still being near the Police Department, Town Hall, and the Middle School. Town Public Works has already cleared the spot for Elberta’s Blessing Barn, as White said it will be called. She said the community would be able to donate non-perishable food, clothing, books, toys, or health items, and anyone in need would be able to stop by and pick up any items they need.
To keep up with the project, follow Elberta Middle School on Facebook or visit www.bcbe.org/ems. For more on the Town of Elberta, visit https://townofelberta.com.