Myr­tle Beach El­e­men­tary School col­lect­ing dona­tions for stu­dents

The Sun News (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY DAVID WEISSMAN dweiss­[email protected]­sun­

An ini­tia­tive to help flood vic­tims fol­low­ing Hur­ri­cane Florence has turned into more at Myr­tle Beach El­e­men­tary School.

The school will host its sec­ond “com­mu­nity store” — of­fer­ing free food, school sup­plies and clothes to fam­i­lies of its stu­dents — at 2:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, with plans to host an­other in March.

Por­tia Wright, one of the teach­ers pri­mar­ily re­spon­si­ble for or­ga­niz­ing the ini­tia­tive, said the school be­gan tak­ing dona­tions dur­ing the long hur­ri­cane-re­lated de­lay in classes and ended up giv­ing away box- es filled with food and other items to 78 of their stu­dents’ fam­i­lies the week school restarted.

The most pop­u­lar item among fam­i­lies by far, Wright said, was laun­dry de­ter­gent, which she said many con­sider a lux­ury.

Michelle Greene-Gra­ham, the school’s prin­ci­pal, ex­plained that about 84 per­cent of the school’s 787 stu­dents live in poverty, mean­ing they of­ten bounce around liv­ing in var­i­ous ho­tels and can be re­spon­si­ble for tak­ing care of younger sib­lings while their par­ents work mul­ti­ple jobs.

Myr­tle Beach El­e­men­tary is one of 21 Horry County Schools

in Ti­tle I, which is a fed­eral as­sis­tance pro­gram of­fered to schools with high num­bers of low­in­come fam­i­lies.

“We do a great job ed­u­cat­ing, but it’s ex­cit­ing to also be able to meet th­ese fam­i­lies’ ba­sic needs,” Greene-Gra­ham said of the com­mu­nity store.

Wright said the school started re­ceiv­ing more dona­tions af­ter get­ting me­dia cov­er­age from its ini­tial event, so those in­volved quickly de­cided to host an­other and plan to con­tinue holding them as long as dona­tions keep com­ing.

“Fam­i­lies didn’t stop hurt­ing just be­cause the flood­ing is over,” GreeneGra­ham said.

Dona­tions have in­cluded gift cards from Rack Room Shoes, school sup­plies from Of­fice Max, food from Low Coun­try Food Bank and cash from a church in Penn­syl­va­nia that Wright said would be used to pur­chase more laun­dry de­ter­gent.

Wright also gave spe­cial thanks to a pair of soror­i­ties from Coastal Carolina Univer­sity that helped fam­i­lies pack items into their cars dur­ing the first com­mu­nity store and are help­ing her pack up boxes of dona­tions ahead of Tuesday.

The school is hop­ing to of­fer items to about 100 fam­i­lies this time, Wright said.

Jackie Owens, a coor­ga­nizer, noted that the school will also be bring­ing in adult ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ists to of­fer in­for­ma­tion for par­ents at­tend­ing the event.

PHO­TOS BY JA­SON LEE [email protected]­sun­

Sydney Den­nis of Coastal Carolina’s Phi Sigma Sigma soror­ity helps sort boxes of shoes and other sup­plies Fri­day to give away at Myr­tle Beach El­e­men­tary. Myr­tle Beach El­e­men­tary School is host­ing a com­mu­nity store, giv­ing away do­nated items to fam­i­lies in need.

Ash­ley Van­win­kle of Coastal Carolina’s Phi Sigma Sigma soror­ity helps pack boxes of school sup­plies at Myr­tle Beach El­e­men­tary.

JA­SON LEE [email protected]­sun­

Coastal Carolina stu­dents from Phi Sigma Sigma help pack boxes to give away at Myr­tle Beach El­e­men­tary.

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