MINERAL COUNTY - What started out as an idea among the employees of Mineral Community Hospital (MCH), evolved into a county-wide program to help our children, parents, teachers and school administration start the 2015-2016 school year with a little less ‘sting’ on their wallets.
The end result was that hundreds of school supplies and nearly $700 was donated, which turned into 72 colorful backpacks being pre-loaded with pencils, glue sticks, erasers, notebooks, scissors, rulers, color crayons and colored markers, folders and highlighters were distributed evenly between Alberton, Superior and St Regis.
Each administration understood that the staff of MCH had initiated this drive and then the word leaked out and several residents wanted to help as well.
Child Care Resources in Missoula got wind of this wagon train and generously sent a check to help with the cause.
There were actually so many extra school supplies after the backpacks were loaded that each school also received 2 boxes of supplies to be given out as needed.
The backpacks were delivered to each school in 3 categories: K-2, 3-4 and 5-6th graders with different or more materials per grade level.
Back to School is a big hit on families. In Mineral County, it might be more painful than in other parts of Montana. 93% of our county is public land (state or federal owned) so our tax base is small.
The schools do the best they can with what they have so the generosity of others helps. But we are a prideful bunch where many don’t want to accept charity or have their neighbors know that they need, or accepted some assistance.
MCH was approached by a few social workers who knew that some families wouldn’t want the stigma and we instructed them to talk with the counselors at perspective schools so they were tasked with discreetly giving to the children in most need.
Not only was this drive considered successful and fun for the employees of MCH, but plans for the 2016-17 school year are already being discussed.