Students from 12 of Lincoln County’s public schools have access to emergency supplies this spring, thanks to a generous donation by a local business and the work of Altrusa International of Yaquina Bay.
Twice each year, Altrusa volunteers shop for the kinds of items that can sometimes be needed unexpectedly. Sweatpants, t-shirts, underwear, hygiene products, lice kits and a variety of other purchases are made in response to lists formulated by school representatives and provided to Altrusa. This spring the purchases were covered entirely by a $5,000 donation from Chowder Bowl restaurant in Newport. The business earmarked its donation specifically to this student necessities effort, known as Project School Bell.
“Newport Chowder Bowl is committed and enthusiastic about supporting Project School Bell,” said owner Liz Shell. “These are the innocent faces of children who live under the cloud of poverty. We hope our involvement will bring awareness to how many children in the county need our assistance.” Shell has owned the Chowder Bowl for 38 years and her son, Mike Franklin, manages the restaurant.
In the 2016/2017 school year, Project School Bell (PSB) purchased supplies to the tune of $11,349, which also includes shoe vouchers for students unable to replace tattered footwear. Even with that kind of investment, PSB was not able to cover all requests. In the course of the school day, more than 3,000 kids attend these 12 schools, so it’s not surprising that torn clothing, illness, bathroom-related issues for elementary-aged students and other mini-disasters occur and require more than just the typical supplies.
Franklin, who has managed the Chowder Bowl for seven years, said the business is always interested in giving back to a community that has been so supportive. He and his wife, Amy, were pleased with the donation to PSB. “My wife and I feel strongly about helping local causes and there is a special feeling for Altrusa because of what you do for kids in the community and the people who truly need you,” he said. Shell agreed,
PSB has also received funding from the Siletz Tribe and Pacific Communities Hospital Foundation in the past. Wal-Mart also continues to play a supportive role, giving Altrusa a 10 percent discount on items purchased in the store for Project School Bell.
Women who want to help Altrusa further its mission to help women and children in Lincoln County are invited to join. For more information, call Angela Nebel at (541)264-8735.