Whether its a new pair of boots for the winter or a bag full of food for the weekend, Moundsville Middle School is giving a helping hand to its students in need.
Funded through the Karl and Mildred Niekamp Charitable Foundation, the school operates year-round services to provide basic necessities for students who often live without new clothes or a steady food supply at home.
Programs include the school's clothes closet and packed meals for the weekend, which have been funded by the Niekamp Foundation for almost two years, Principal Sandy McAllister said. The foundation also provides funding for students at John Marshall High School, Central Elementary and McNinch Elementary Schools.
Photo by Sarah Harmon - Karen Rogerson, an autism mentor at Moundsville Middle School, hangs jackets in the school’s clothes closet to be give to children in need.
Students have access to the school's clothes closets that can provide them with new coats, shirts, pants, shoes, undergarments and hygiene items without questions from staff. According to McAllister, the students are encouraged and reminded to come to the clothes closet if they are in need and do not have to have permission from their parents.
"This a crucial time for kids when they are very observant of how they look and feel," McAllister said, adding the closet has made a "huge difference" in the students' morale.
Additionally, the school also offers packs of healthy meals and snacks for students every weekend with Niekamp funds.
Teacher Suzanne Muncy said she packs 20 sacks every Friday full of cereals, fruits and microwave items to help feed students on the weekend who usually rely on school meals to eat throughout the school week. Muncy said she spends the week shopping for food the kids can easily make for themselves at home.
"When you can do something a child truly needs, it's a blessing," Muncy said. "It can make a real difference in a kid's life. It's such a feel-good experience."