Creek View PTO collecting ‘jewels’ for school

A group of parents at Creek View Elementary School is looking to steer surplus school supplies and generous donations to teachers who need them the most.

The school’s Parent-Teacher Organization recently began its second year of the Jewels for Schools program, which is designed to help students and teachers who have been affected by school budget cuts and the economic downturn.

Through the program, the PTO collects everything from school supplies to daily snacks and distributes them to Creek View teachers and students.

“As a parent, there is nothing more heartbreaking than visiting your child’s school to find a classmate with inadequate supplies because they could not afford to buy new ones,” said Julie Ward, who has helped to organize the event the past two years. “Jewels for School is a way for our community to share your excess with students and teachers who need it most.”

In the second week of school, more than 25 teachers had already signed up to benefit from the program. Because of state funding cuts, many teachers in Shelby County and across the state have been forced to pay for many supplies out of their own pockets.

The teachers are asking for items like ink cartridges, children’s books, cleaning supplies and paper towels.

The PTO is also looking to help special-needs, art, music and English as a second language classrooms, Ward said.

“New teachers especially need help stocking their classroom with cleaning supplies, books for classroom libraries and simple luxuries like carpet squares,” she said. “Another large need is help with healthy snacks and juice boxes for children who are financially unable to bring them on a daily basis.

“With a school of almost 1,000 children in kindergarten through third grade, it takes many supplies during the year to fill students’ needs,” Ward added.

The program is different from many other school support programs, because individuals and businesses who donate to the program can do so without writing a check or simply giving the school cash.

Instead, the PTO collects the school supplies from donors and distributes them directly to the teachers and students who need them.

“We will make sure donations go directly into the hands of students and teachers needing it the most,” Ward said. “Tough economic times have called for new creative solutions, and we are hoping our citizens of Alabaster agree by contributing what they can to this very worthy cause.”

Donors can drop off items at any PTO event or at the school’s front office, as long as the items are marked “PTO Jewels.” Donors can also call Ward at 447-1066 or e-mail her at Juliecainward@aol.com to have items picked up from a home or business.

Because teachers and students are in need of a wide variety of items, the PTO is accepting all types of items.

“If in doubt send it and the PTO will find a home for your donation,” Ward said.