United South Central is making some room for Reggie
United South Central Schools are working to take out the barriers and the stigma surrounding the need for personal hygiene products for students.
Recently, community education coordinator Laura Foley took the initiative, along with help from guidance counselor Kayt Klemek, and social workers Melissa Haugh and Jen Crawford, to set up what they are calling Reggie’s Locker.
Reggie’s Locker is a one-stop place where students in need of hygiene products, like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and other items, can come and get the care items they need to take care of their bodies, so they can focus on growing their minds at school.
“We have a high number of students on the free and reduced lunch programs here at USC, and we know these things are always a need for those families,” says Crawford. “And families may not always have those funds available to purchase these products, so we wanted to make sure our kiddos are taken care of.”
“We just want to make sure our students know they have a place to come if they need anything,” says Foley. “We are working hard at removing the stigma around asking for these supplies, and breaking down as many barriers for students in order to get those products. All they have to do is come find us, or go to Melissa Haugh’s office, and we will get the student whatever they need.”
Foley has been dubbed the queen of this project. She is the school’s contact person for families with questions, or people wanting to donate items or funds to Reggie’s Locker.
“This is her baby,” laughs Crawford. “We are so fortunate to have Laura at USC. She has spearheaded this entire initiative, and it’s a need that she saw in the students, and just went for it. And now we are tackling this together, as an entire community. We are so glad to have her here.”
As far as Foley can tell, Reggie’s Locker will be a permanent project at USC. That means for those able to donate, you can donate all year round; and for students, it means they have access to these basic needs all year round as well.
“Our counselors and social workers make the referrals for our students, and then kids can come in and get those products,” says Foley. “But if a student needs something, we are happy to help anyone. Just stop by Reggie’s Locker and we will get them what they need. We already have students using it.”
This initiative only just began in February, and already donations have been coming in more and more.
“It was so great to see it finally get off the ground and go,” says Foley. “Now it isn’t stopping and it is just so refreshing to see how helpful our communities in the district are. I’ve gotten way more items than I ever expected within the first month of this initiative. It’s incredible.”
“We are so very thankful to everyone who has donated either products or funds to Reggie’s Locker,” says Crawford. “This is a true testament to our community. Whenever someone needs something, we put out the word, and we get a huge response. Always. It’s just incredible, especially for our kiddos at USC.”
If you would like to donate to Reggie’s Locker, USC is looking for new products (in their original packaging) of deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, floss, lotion, chapstick, body wash, soap, individual detergent packets, socks, combs, washcloths, hairbrushes, and other necessities. For those wishing to donate dollars to Reggie’s Locker, drop off your funds at the USC office and make sure to specify your donation goes to Reggie’s Locker.