Donations help students in era of quarantine-based schooling

Angie Haynie and Anna Brown receive supplies Georgia-Pacific donated to local school districts. (SUBMITTED/News Observer)

Ashley County elementary schools received donations of school supplies donated by Georgia-Pacific in partnership with the Kids in Need Foundation, a donation that benefitted more than 2,100 students.  Donations were sent to Crossett Elementary School, Albritton Elementary School and Noble Elementary School in Hamburg, and Portland Elementary School in Portland.

The boxes contained Sparkle paper towels, pencils, pens, notebooks, glue sticks, and other supplies.

“For millions of students, particularly those who don’t have technology of connectivity at home, the reliance on traditional, basic school supplies to further their education is still very real,” said Nate Smiga, brand director for Sparkle towels.

Local teachers said they appreciated the donation as they face unprecedented education challenges during the current pandemic.

“We truly appreciate the efforts to make this happen, and we are grateful for Georgia-Pacific,” said Barbara Garner, assistant superintendent for Crossett School District.

Teachers emphasized that not seeing their students takes an emotional toll on them.

“The most challenging problem about distance learning is the lack of student participation in the technology-based learning,” said Angie Haynie, a fourth-grade teacher at Crossett Elementary Schools.  “Some students do not have internet, and some do not have any type of technology at home. Honestly, it is hard not seeing my students’ faces…during this time of distance learning.”

Ramona Sivils, a teacher at Allbritton Elementary School, echoed Haynie’s sentiments.

“It has been challenging to make sure my students have what they need to complete their work,” Sivils said. “I worry about my students’ mental health during this time.”

A company spokesperson said donations like these demonstrate Georgia-Pacific and the Sparkle brand’s longstanding commitment to education initiatives.

“We are extremely grateful for everything our mill employees are doing to keep our facilities safe and operable during this time,” said Smiga. “Their hard work and effort are the reason we are able to provide families with the essentials, such as Sparkle paper towels. We are honored to be working with the Kids in Need Foundation in an effort to get school supplies into the homes of children whose education has been impacted by current events. Our hope is that these school supplies will help to ease the burden to the communities around our Sparkle facilities.”

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