Two Valley moms are leading a charge to keep kids at Kyrene De Los Niños in school by making sure they have all the PPE they need to continue learning in the classroom despite COVID-19.
“So, I’m glad to see masks, because those have been hard to find,” said Jennifer Dustin sifting through recent donations.
“We saw how schools being closed is not good for anybody so whatever we can do to pitch in and make it so we can keep it open,” said her friend and fellow mother Shanan Villarreal.
Dustin and Villarreal have set their sights on Kyrene De Los Niños Elementary. The title one school serves a large population of low-income families.
“Over 2,000 masks have been donated so far,” said Jennifer with excitement.
Many of the students on this campus not only rely on the school for education but also food during the day. Something that proved to be a major issue when students went off-campus during the pandemic. A simple post on Facebook would soon ignite an effort to make sure it didn’t happen again.
“I had ten businesses jump on within the first two days, it was harder to find all the cardboard boxes to get to them than it was to find the businesses,” said Jennifer.
What those businesses jumped in to do was place a donation box inside their doors. Signs on those boxes are asking for disinfectant wipes, masks, hand sanitizer and gloves. The locations spanning from Ahwatukee to Tempe.
“It was a no-brainer for us,” said Chip Mahoney, owner of Wicked Brews, Bites, and Spirits.
Mahoney says they since promoted it on their own social media accounts and his customers responded almost immediately.
“So if this can help and keep them in school, the more the better,” said Mahoney.
“As the masks come in, they go right back out to our students,” said Lisa Connor, Principal at Kyrene De Los Niños.
Connor says as they watched COVID-19 cases rise across the state, their hope for a more normal school year has dimmed. The need for protective supplies came into focus.
“You know I get people who email me all the time who want to help and little things here and there and I’m very grateful for any help we can get, but I never expected this,” said Connor as carts full of products are wheeled through the school's doors.
Jennifer and Shanan also set up an Amazon wish list where she updates the school's needs on daily basis.
“People have really been coming through on that, it just made it really easy, you go on your phone, you all have Amazon Prime, click, click, and it gets sent directly to the school,” said Jennifer.
The donation campaign will continue for the next week but the results so far paint a picture of a community ready and willing to help.