The Social Workers of Dickinson Public Schools hosted its second open house pantry for DPS students that may be in need of certain scholastic items in preparing for the upcoming school year. With numerous questions being surrounded in the upcoming year based on the COVID-19 pandemic, DPS hoped to ease the stress on parents with the free school supplies.
Backpacks, glue, pencils, coloring utensils and many more items stacked the rows of tables set up at the Hagen Building, also known as the former Dickinson Junior High facility. Lauren Roemmich, the social worker at the Dickinson High School, said the pantry was created a few years prior, but was needed now more than ever.
"We know that this year there is probably a very high need, especially compared to other years with jobs and the economy right now. We just wanted to make sure that people had one less thing to worry about for back to school," Roemmich said.
The high numbers have already been validated with this pantry, given the most recent pantry open house that took place on Thursday, August 20.
"We did it for six hours total in the day and we gave school supplies for a total of 125 students on Thursday," Roemmich said. "We weren’t able to serve this many last year, so this year we’ve seen a huge increase too."
With so many school supplies being able to be given to those in need, Roemmich said the biggest givers were the companies that helped sponsor the open house pantry.
"It’s been awesome, we’re lucky that we have the donors so that we are able to do this," she said. "We’re the lucky ones that get to carry it out and see the faces of the excited students and families getting their school supplies. We’ve gotten emails and comments from families just thanking us for it. It is just a really fulfilling thing to be able to do that."
Roemmich also said the entire community of Dickinson has been a major benefit in donating the large amounts of school supplies.
"We cannot thank the community enough for that, we couldn’t offer this communities without all of these things," she said. "It’s been amazing that we don’t have to worry about (quantity) we can just offer this …. People keep reaching out to us for donating school supplies."
As for the extra school supplies, Roemmich said some of the supplies will be kept in the pantry for students that may come into the school district later in the year, or if schools within the district may need supplies for students, the same the can be said if teachers are in need of supplies in their classrooms.
Currently, Roemmich and the rest of the Social Workers of Dickinson Public Schools program are in need of new to lightly used tennis shoes for grades K-12.
To help donate, or for more information, call Lauren Roemmich at 701-300-4826.