The Lake Wales Medical Center employees donated 89 backpacks to the Lake Wales Charter Schools for children in need for the upcoming school year.
“Every department participated,” said Paula Alford, school health nurse for the LWCS.
Alford was invited to the hospital cafeteria by Brandi Herman, executive administrative assistant, where “backpacks were arranged by department employees and each area was decorated with backpacks and school supplies,” Alford said. “We had to choose the best decorated display and that was the engineering department at the hospital.”
The hospital held a backpack drive throughout the month of July to gather school supplies and backpacks.
“Our employees enjoy a little friendly competition among departments, so we issued a challenge and offered prizes to the most creative displays,” said hospital CEO Andrew Howard. “As always, they came through with lots of donations and lots of creativity.”
The hospital’s engineering department won best display for its “Using the Right Tool for the Job.” Health Information Management won honorable mention for the learning tree. The physician clinics won for collecting the most backpacks.
The backpacks go to the schools as well as holding a few back at the school district to distribute as needed.
“We were in the building less than five minutes from the hospital when a family came into the school district office asking for backpacks for three children,” Alford said on Thursday. “This is the first time for me to go get backpacks and have someone here when I get back.”
The children received backpacks and school supplies. The backpacks received from the hospital were a variety purchased for gender and age groups from high school men and women to young elementary girls and boys.
“The hospital employees went above and beyond to nice ones, good quality and cute and adorable ones,” Alford said.
Gazing around and taking stock of the stacks of backpacks and school supplies from the hospital Alford said “I would say between $1,200 and $1,500 in gifts in kind were spent on this project.”
The Ouellette law firm in Lake Wales also donates school supplies, Alford said and is also going to donate food for the school (food) backpack program.
“We currently have a fund drive for school supplies and food items for the school district,” said Rebecca Adams of the Ouellette firm. “We started the program July 28 and will continue through Aug. 16 asking for school supplies and I have a list of suggested food items. Being a single mom of two kids, I have volunteered in the school system and it really hit home knowing we have homeless children in the district. So I thought being a prominent law firm in town that we could do some good.”
Darwin Manzueta of Herbal Life has donated 35 backpacks and school supplies to the drive, Adams said.
School supplies and food staples can be dropped off at the Ouellette firm at 151 E. Central Ave., at the Jahna Building near the attorney’s offices, and at the Citizens Bank.