SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — T-shirts, shorts, hoodies, and sweatpants. Anything a student might need can be found in a Care to Learn closet in Kristen Rohrer’s office.
“Pretty much what we have here is what we can get from Care to Learn anytime that we have the shortage,” said Rohrer.
She’s the school nurse at Weller Elementary School. She says if a child has had an accident or just need new clothes they can find it there.
“It helps us so much,” she said. “It helps these kids stay in school, it helps them stay focused in class.”
The closet is re-stocked every month and Care to Learn also provides snacks and hygiene products. But a lot has to happen before these items make it to Rohrer’s closet.
“it’s really taken a village,” said Linda Ramey-Greiwe, the executive director at Care to Learn.
An event was held Thursday to thank donors and sponsors who, from the very beginning, have helped fund the organization.
“This was a new idea when it started ten years ago,” she said. “And they believed in us, they worked with us, and they supported us so that we could provide those basic needs to the children.”
She says many volunteers and others behind the scenes then help it all come full circle.
“School staff, teachers, counselors, nurses, all parts of the Springfield school district, and now other schools throughout Missouri,” Ramey-Greiwe said.
Rohrer says once the items are in the closet in her office, reaching the kids is all about communicating with counselors and teachers, paying attention to students and building their trust.
“[It’s saying] ‘hey, I have seen this, do you want to tell me what’s going on at home? What we talk about in this room is a safe room and it’s not going anywhere. And it is ok to share with me if you have something that you need at home. I’m here to help you,” Rohrer said.
A run benefitting Care to Learn is planned for Oct. 6. It’s organized by Drury University.