I Design, Social Services partner to help families
I Design has partnered with Pierce County Social Services to offer clothing, personal care items and school supplies to area families Wednesday, August 15 through today.
Store owner Daunne Heilman set her building’s entire second floor to make room for tables filled with items donated by various community businesses and individuals. Her sister, Carisa Hoveland, said she approached Heilman with the idea to help families get ready for their children’s first day of school, which for Rugby students will be Wednesday, August 22.
“It’s something that Dawn and I are passionate about making sure that kids who need help have it, ” Hoveland said, “Because we were in that situation when we were younger. I remember not having enough money for school supplies, and having to be creative and using what we could from people who gave it to us.”
Hoveland said she noticed families in a similar predicament when she moved to Rugby from Grand Forks a year ago, and came up with a plan.
“We had the full second floor open here (at I Design), so I talked with my sister and Melinda Voeller (of Pierce County Social Services) about this, and we decided we would take donations and set this up here for free, so people could come and shop. It’s somewhere that’s out of the public eye, but they can still get the experience and excitement of back-to-school shopping,” Hoveland added.
Hoveland described the donation effort as a “success so far” on its first day.
“I was really happy as we were unpacking (donations) and seeing Miss Me, Hollister, Nike, Under Armor really nice things people were willing to donate. That was really great,” Hoveland said.
Pierce County Social Services Director Melinda Bischoff-Voeller agreed. “They have some really nice stuff there,” she noted.
“The community has been amazing in donating all this,” Bischoff-Voeller continued. “There is absolutely a need (for help with back-to-school supplies in Rugby).”
Hoveland shared Bischoff-Voeller’s opinion.
“It’s been great,” Hoveland said. “Even today, Rugby Dental Office heard we ran out of toothbrushes and toothpaste, so they brought a whole big box of them over for us.”
“We’re already running out of items,” Hoveland continued. “I can see that we only have two backpacks left. We are pretty much out of all the personal hygiene products. Socks and underwear went right away.”
In the event donations are left over after the last day of the distribution at I Design, the Rugby Food Pantry will have them available Monday, August 20. The food pantry will have additional school supplies and backpacks available on that day as well.
Hoveland says she plans to give any of her donations not taken by the food pantry to Rugby schools.
Hoveland hopes to repeat the back-to-school distribution effort next year.
“If we have space available next year, we’d like to continue this,” Hoveland indicated. “We have plans to do something with our second floor in this building (I Design), so if we do this next year, we’re probably going to look for someone to donate space. We’re hoping someone will reach out and have the space for us. I have a feeling the community will do that, especially when they hear this went well and there are a lot of people who needed this.”
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