Jefferson Elementary Center ‘paying it forward’ with new kiosk
PARKERSBURG — Seeing a need for healthy food and hygiene products in the neighborhood, Jefferson Elementary Center started a Pay It Forward kiosk to support those in need.
Available 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, the idea of the kiosk came from a conversation between the behavior disorders teacher Jenna Plumly and Jefferson administrators Jodie Pierotti and Jeni Hopkins.
“We know there is an important need we help fill while school is in session with our Pay it Forward program and wondered how we can continue to help with that need while we are out for the summer,” Plumly said. “We are working to maintain a positive and helpful relationship with our neighbors and families. We felt we needed to continue to provide support throughout the summer months.”
The behavior disorders staff has been filling the stand each week with healthy snacks (raisins, oatmeal, canned vegetables), fresh vegetables from the Center’s garden (fresh green beans and lettuce so far. With cucumbers, squash and tomatoes added once those plants produce), and hygiene items (toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, antibacterial hand soap, body wash, deodorant, and other supplies).
As part of the Pay It Forward program, Jefferson also has a greenhouse that is available and has more than 100 individual tomato, cucumber, and green bean seedlings planted by those students.
School funds were used to purchase the stand and the design and vinyl working on the kiosk were provided by school bus driver Melissa Plumly.
Plumly and aides Elise Reynolds and Larry Plumly manage the food pantry and school garden project with help from students during the year.
“We got a greenhouse and started growing some vegetables. You’ll see some of those on the kiosk as well. So those students work with getting the products out and families can stop and pick up as well,” Jefferson Elementary Center Principal Julie Gibson said. “I think it just goes with the whole climate and culture of Jefferson that we try to service our kids and our families as people and meet all of the needs that they may have. So that learning comes much easier.”
Donations were made by Murphytown United Methodist Church, Stephenson United Methodist Church, Wood County Democratic Executive Committee, Lowes, Home Depot, Rural King, and several individuals.
Tyler Bennett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org