Acts of Giving in Franklin, Tennessee
Written 8/2018 from older blog with 2020 updates
The dictionary defines the word, "nook" as a corner or recess, especially one offering seclusion or security. For the school children of Franklin, Tennessee, it means security and so much more.
Today I sat down with the communications director for NOOK (Need Of Our Kids), Elizabeth Bledsoe. Over coffee Elizabeth shared her story of how she became involved in the launch of this much-needed local organization.
Like myself, Elizabeth is a mother whose children attend FSSD schools (Franklin Special School District), and as an active member of the PTO and as a classroom parent, she started to see first hand just how many kids were going without the basic necessities. Her daughter once mentioned that a friend at school never had anything for snack-time and furthermore Elizabeth discovered that the teacher was paying out of pocket to stock the classroom with extra snacks for several kids who faced the same scenario. And the purchases didn't stop at just snacks, clothes, jackets, shoes, socks, underwear, and feminine and hygiene products were all regularly purchased by teachers, school nurses, and councilors.
As a new resident to Franklin, Elizabeth wasn't aware that there were needs like she was witnessing in such an affluent place like Franklin. As Elizabeth became more involved in the PTO, the organization decided they wanted to address the dire needs of these students who were going without many of the things our own children take for granted.
Nook was launched in January of 2017 with 10 volunteers, it has now grown leaps and bounds with 27 volunteers and an 8 person committee board; it is important to note that NOOK is 100% volunteer-driven. Today NOOK's volunteers work closely with school counselors, nurses and social workers in our public schools and have distributed over 2500 pairs of socks, 1500 pairs of underwear, 55 pairs of shoes, 100 pairs of pants, 75 shirts, 33 emergency fuel gift cards, 231 boxes of feminine hygiene and 57 food boxes from their partner organization, One Generation Away.
The Hope Grant
NOOK now offers the Hope Grant which enables school administration to fulfill other needs as well. Things that are a right of passage in school like having a yearbook and going to the prom, can be a financial burden for others, now there is hope, this organization is making it happen.
Elizabeth mentioned that a pair of sneakers might not seem like a lot, however, to the kid who can't participate in P.E. because they don't have sneakers, it means they can continue to learn and grow alongside their classmates. NOOK helps to empower the staff in our local schools to immediately respond to a crisis with basic essentials so a child can focus on achieving their best in the classroom.
How To Get Involved
Many of Franklin schools have a NOOK box where items can be donated such as socks, underwear, deodorant, clothes, etc., however, monetary gifts are the most useful and can be used to immediately fill the pressing needs of a particular student. Donations can be made on their new website and sent to them through the mail. See details on their site:
During a NOOK drive or donation, please think about the older children, middle school kids start wearing adult sizes and can no longer fit into toddler or youth clothing. Donating snacks and classroom supplies to your child's or grandchild's class is also a simple first step.
I am deeply thankful to Elizabeth for sharing her story with me, and I am thankful to every single volunteer at NOOK for filling the needs of our community schools. Franklin is an amazing community that repeatedly rises to the occasion, just another reason to love where you live.
Do you have a favorite organization that gives back to the community?
Leave a comment below and tell us about it.
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