A DONATION of 150 winter coats and $500 for other winter gear was made to the Durand Area Schools’ (DAS) Neal Necessities/Kerr Cares Closet program on Thursday, Oct. 10 by the Durand Rotary. The check and coats were presented to Neal Necessities/Kerr Cares Closet coordinators Cathy Mitchell, a DAS literacy coach, STEM and Title 1 teacher, and Lynn Winarski, who is volunteering with the program for the second year.

   Shown during the presentation is (back row, from left) Rotary member Nancy Folaron, Lynn Winarski, Rotary member Kathy Shaw, Cathy Mitchell and Rotary members Stephanie Cleveland and Jeanette Gomos, along with Mrs. Church’s 1st-grade class.

   Cathy Mitchell created the Kerr Cares Closet during her first school year at Durand, in 2016, to help families of Robert Kerr Elementary with small and immediate needs. The program provides one-time donations of item(s) to students within the school district. Items include winter coats and student clothing, food, personal care items, household items and school supplies, among others.

   Mitchell expanded the program during the past school year to include Neal Necessities, serving Bertha Neal Elementary students. Mitchell and Winarski laid the groundwork for Neal Necessities last school year and received approximately 10 requests for assistance, compared to the Kerr Cares Closet’s 66 requests. They expect to be able to help many more Bertha Neal students this school year, thanks to generous donations from organizations like the Durand Rotary and the Durand Educational Foundation, along with many individual donors.

   Request forms are sent home with students early in the school year and can be filled out and returned for consideration. Request forms labeled “Neal Necessities” can be turned in anytime during the school year to the student’s school. Request forms are reviewed weekly by the Kerr Cares Closet/Neal Necessities team, and families are then contacted with the decision. Items can be picked up by parents or sent home with the student.

   To make a donation to the Kerr Cares Closet/Neal Necessities, or for additional information, contact Cathy Mitchell at mitchell@durand.k12.mi.us or (989) 288-8845. Checks should be made payable to “Bertha Neal c/o Neal Necessities/Kerr Cares Closet.”

(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)

Durand Rotary was last modified: October 21st, 2019 by Karen Elford