Students come through for families in needEvery year, Rosemount Middle School teacher Kelly Johnson sets an ambitious goal for her sixth graders’ clothing drive. And every year, the students come through. In its first three years the winter drive grew from around 800 donated items to 2,300.
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
Every year, Rosemount Middle School teacher Kelly Johnson sets an ambitious goal for her sixth graders’ clothing drive. And every year, the students come through. In its first three years the winter drive grew from around 800 donated items to 2,300.
Still, Johnson was a little worried halfway through this year’s drive when donations were slow to come. By last Tuesday, just four days before the end of the drive, students had brought in about 1,500 items, roughly half of Johnson’s 3,000-item goal.
“I kind of freaked out, because I thought I had set such a lofty goal,” Johnson said.
Johnson reminded her students about the drive, and about the people who are in need of warm clothing this time of year. And the students responded. Big time. They dug through closets or went to the store to buy blankets or coats. They came in with bag after bag of donations
The next day, there were at least 1,000 new items, and by Friday, the end of the drive, there were more than 3,000.
The result was a little overwhelming.
“Just when I thought I had to lower my goal, they shattered it,” Johnson said. “These kids are pretty goal oriented. You can barely walk through our classroom because you’re going to be leaping over garbage bags of blankets and coats. It’s a great problem.”
On Monday, students, teachers and parent volunteers stacked jackets and shirts and pants on tables in the school’s cafeteria. They sorted them, and they stuffed them into large plastic bags. By the time they were done the bags were piled like autumn leaves on wheeled carts.
The students collected so much they couldn’t donate it to just one place. No single organization could handle it all, Johnson said. The donations will go to distribution centers in Eagan and Burnsville.
“It’s amazing how sometimes in times like these people end up reaching out even more because they’re seeing the needs more frequently,” Johnson said. “I’m really thrilled and proud of them.”