It’s not unheard of — a kid shows up to school on a cold day and they don’t own a coat. Or another kid has worn the same clothes for several days in a row.
Social workers, teachers and counselors all have stories of students they’ve had to take care of when parents or caregivers have fallen short.
The Coosa Valley Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 14, partnered with Floyd County Schools and Rome City Schools to make sure students had essentials — items that aren’t necessarily school supplies, but nonetheless important in everyday school life.
On Tuesday morning, Floyd County Police Department officers — and FOP lodge members — Sgt. Chris Fincher, Sgt. Rusty Williams and Pfc. Jerome Poole met with social workers in the two school systems to fill some of those needs.
Kaitlyn Wilson, the FCS social worker for the Armuchee area, said counselors at each school have a closet containing clothes and toiletries for students when they need them.
“Especially with our little ones, we have a need,” Fincher said. “They may not realize the temperature outside and not think about what they’re wearing until they’re at school.”
But even with donated clothes, Wilson said kids in need care what they’re wearing as their peers can judge them pretty harshly.
“School can be difficult enough for some kids,” Fincher said, but to be in damaged or dirty clothing makes it so much harder.
“As part of being (School Resource Officers) we realized there’s a need for kids having clothes,” Fincher said. “We saw the need to provide something for the counselors to put in their closets.”
So they did it last year and saw the benefit from the students themselves. Fincher said this year they decided to continue the same program and collected approximately $4,000 in donations.
In the Floyd County School System there are counselors at every school but social workers work an area. For instance, Jennifer Massey covers the Model area, Jackie Trammell covers the Pepperell area and Theresa Vann covers the Coosa area.
Needs range from getting a student in sync with the dress code or, in earlier grades, finding them clothes that fit when they make a mess.
“When kids get to a certain age, deodorant becomes a need,” Wilson said. “Some kids with lower-functioning parents may not realize the need. We keep soap, deodorant, clothes just in case.”
Wilson said she had a student who showed up with a sweater but didn’t realize she’d forgotten a T-shirt, so they found her one.
The FOP is also seeking donations for Christmas with Cops, a Christmas holiday shopping event where police officers take kids shopping to make sure they have a good holiday. The event generally spends approximately $200 for each sponsored child.
Donations can be sent to the Floyd County Police Department, attention Sgt. Chris Fincher or to Coosa Valley Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 14 at 3 Central Plaza No. 143, Rome, GA 30161.