School supply prices rising Care Closet opening, growing

Kimberly Edgar, Entertainment Editor

Inflation has driven up the prices of books and supplies by 3.11% compared to last year, and Americans are spending $11 billion more than in 2019. That’s a cost increase of about $170 per family,” says Meghan Grey of Key C News. Inflation and the need for school supplies influenced assistant principal Mr. Ed Stevens and others to create a “care closet” for any student who is in need. 

     “We had a lot of students who lost a lot of supplies in fires during 2020, so we all got together,” says Stevens.“We thought it would be nice if students had a place to go in order to get things like binders and backpacks.” Stevens got in contact with Mrs. Laurie Namey, the principal at Magnolia Middle School, since they already had a closet set up. “I believe that they also have food, like a food pantry set up. We decided that we probably don’t want to do that because we would have to worry about allergies and expiration dates,” says Stevens. 

     The care closet started right around when COVID-19 broke out. Stevens mentions that he had already set up several racks and bins for the supplies to be stored in by this time. Stevens and administrator Mrs. Kim Iddings went to Mason Dixon last year for assistance with offering school supplies. 

     The issue currently resides with the lack of publicity. It is important that students know about the closet and what it offers. The closet is located in between the nurses office and the student store, but if you are in need of supplies or clothing, Stevens explains that students should see their counselor or an adult to get what they need from the closet. “It will be private so that no one else will see someone in the room, someone will deliver the items directly to them discreetly,” says Stevens. 

     Stevens explains that several people, including local churches, are offering to contribute to the care closet. “The PTSA and Mrs. Nancy Green [drama teacher] with the Renaissance Festival has expressed an interest as well,” according to Stevens. It is not completely stocked as of now, but school supplies and some clothes are available. According to Stevens, anyone can donate to the care closet by going to the main office and asking. He hopes to set up some donation bins in several hot spots in the school. 

     Stevens emphasizes that he is looking for items that are not used. “Hoodies and coats we will take gently used, but personal items like deodorant should be new. We won’t turn anything away, but we don’t want clothing that students don’t want anymore because of [something like a stain],” says Stevens. 

     The plan for managing the care closet will be handed to the students in the life skills classes. “We want them to organize the [closet] because they do little jobs to help build life skills,” adds Stevens. He is still in the planning stages for the closet and Stevens says that he will continue to work with the life skills students for the organization.