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School social worker creates donation room


The students and families of Mill Creek Elementary School in Bristol Township School District can now get their basic needs met year-round thanks to school social worker Joy Stickney-McDonald’s creation of a dedicated community resource room.

What began as an annual outreach project to help distribute gas and food around the holidays crystalized into something more substantial and permanent following a recent tragedy.

“When we returned from the holiday break in January, we actually had a family that had a house fire,” Stickney-McDonald said. “So we came together as a school and contributed financially. And some people also donated some clothes that were gently used and other items.”

Wouldn’t it be better, she thought, if the school had a dedicated room of resources – things like non-perishable food, clothing, hygiene items – that if there was a student or family in need, they could quickly get them those resources instead of waiting for donations?

After getting the green light from her administration, she reached out to a few community organizations, including Kamp for Kids, Family Services, and The United Way. Within a week, Kamp for Kids showed up with two carloads full of items.

“They were amazing,” she said. “They helped clean out the room, organize it. They gave us tons of school supplies, new and gently used clothing, sanitizers, wipes, tons of canned goods.”

Now she gets donations from all around the community.

“I’ve had members who just live in the community but don’t have any students within the school and they’ve reached out to see if they could drop off some non-perishable food or how they could help get the word out if there was anything else that we needed,” she said. “It just started with this small idea, and it’s amazing to watch the community come together and this dream come to fruition and just the positive feedback.”