Posted by David Pritchard
The Columbus Rotary club is engaged in helping students and families of the Windsor STEM Academy, a Columbus public school, in several areas - food for a school families' pantry/clothing donations; reading to students; and installing a washer and dryer in the school for use by student families. This article discusses just the food and clothing drive.  A later one will report on the other projects.

Seen here - Geron Tate, Windsor STEM Academy Assistant Principal has been invaluable in coordinating the Rotary food donations
The Windsor STEM Academy elementary school is located at 1219 East 12 th Ave. in the South Linden neighborhood about a mile east of the fairgrounds. The Rotary food pantry drive is back in full swing with the school once again in session. It is part of our Rotary effort to  deal with the effects of poverty, improve school accomplishments and bring peace to this impacted neighborhood.  Many of the 400 Windsor students come to the school hungry and all qualify for free school lunch programs because of low family incomes.  Residents and students face many challenges in addition to low income; substandard housing, transient life,  lack of services, health care and retail, lack of jobs in the area, and lack of transportation. All problems that have been intensified by the COVID pandemic in their community.  It is place where Rotary involvement is clearly worthwhile and is making a difference.  One of the clearest needs of the students and their families is food security, a place where Rotary has been helping since last Autumn.
 
The Rotary effort started with a First  Fridays food drive  on Nov. 6 run by Manana Fribley that generated 2 carloads of donations, followed by about 1 dozen deliveries over the following months with help from Nancy Trux, Sally Larrimer and George Kuhn.  Rotary has donated over 500 items of food. kitchen utensils and clothing so far.  Sally also donated a Christmas tree that was displayed at the school and on a TV news spot.  The food items are distributed by the school with 60 families signing up on a weekly basis.
 
The staff members that we work with at the school are the most competent, innovative and devoted group that you could imagine.  The Principal, Ms.  Lee DuMond, the Vice-Principal, Mr. Geron Tate, and the community involvement coordinator, Ms. Marquita Curry put the students first and go to extraordinary effort to help their students with learning and life and to help make their home life the best it can be.  Rotary support will help them to be successful with their students and families.  In our work to coordinate with these staff members, they do everything to help target our effort for the best outcomes.  We believe it is working and working well; the school staff members we are coordinating with have continually expressed their appreciation of the Rotary work, as stated in their letter, attached below..
The Rotary is focused on contribution of household and personal needs  - primarily food, kitchen items and clothing   We are continuing the effort for the foreseeable future, with  Rotary member donations by drop-off at the Rotary office, committee member homes, or by pickup at Rotary member homes or businesses.  Of course, we hope to get back to in-person meetings as the COVID Vaccine becomes effective so that bringing donations to meetings will  again be an option.  We also have tested the process for donation by using online ordering and delivery.  We  have found a workable option is to purchase online, and send the donations directly to the school.  The three online sources that we have tested are:
  • Amazon - A wide variety of goods is available at reasonable prices, and many items ship for free.  And Rotary can receive a contribution from Amazon via Amazon Smile.  Nearly all shipping is free if you are a member of Amazon Prime (and Rotary gets a contribution). (the prices are still often higher than store  brands such as Walmart).  Ordering and payment are pretty simple.  The link for food on Amazon is : https://www.amazon.com/s?k=food&crid=3JX1GNY34I4YZ&sprefix=food%2Caps%2C423&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-a-p_5_4   It may be necessary to cut and paste this into your browser.
  • Walmart - A wide variety of items and some ship for free.  But in a test run, canned goods and some other items were not available to ship.  As canned goods are a big need, that is a potential problem that could limit donations to possibly dry goods like cereal and flour, sugar etc . The school has a list of the types of items needed on the Walmart website.  The link is:https://www.walmart.com/lists/shared/WL/8ecff2a8-a113-44ba-9bb9-7b2c6d50ef8b
  • Aldi - the variety of goods was limited but prices were low.  The ordering system seemed more complicated and the delivery service was from a third party which was more costly and complicated ordering and tracking.  The link is:  Aldi.us
IMPORTANT - For all of the online options, the delivery can be directed to the school at the address below.  If possible, the delivery needs to be specified as 8am to 3:30pm weekdays.  It is important to watch carefully on shipping charges.  An item may be priced artificially low with extremely high shipping charges.  Amazon seems capable of ranking multiple sources in lists of vendors that include shipping cost, making this a bit easier to deal with.  As noted above, if using Walmart, check that the item is shippable.

Direct to School delivery:        Windsor STEM Academy for delivery of online orders
                                           1219 E. 12th Ave.
                       Columbus, OH  43211
                       Email contact to put on the order for the school online delivery:                                                                                     
                       mcurry@columbus.k12.oh.us
                       Phone: 614-365-5906

Drop off locations               Dave Pritchard - drop off or call for pickup at your home or office
                                           1351 W. First Ave.
                                           Grandview
                                           Contact  davepritchard@sbcglobal.net  Phone  614-519-4819
                                           Drop on front porch any time: please call or email notice of drop off
                                                      
                                           Rotary office drop off
                                           950 Michigan Ave.
                                           Columbus, OH 43215
                                           donation boxes are available inside the front door along Michigan Avenue
 
List of items needed at the school:
              Flour (4-5 lb)                                          Sugar (4-5 lb)                                            jam
              boxed juices                                           grape juice                                                oatmeal
              minced garlic ( 8 oz)                                evaporated milk ( 8 oz)                              pepper
              salt                                                        chicken broth (14.5 oz)                              veg oil ( 16oz)
              rice                                                        tea                                                          pancake mix
              pancake syrup                                        instant potatoes                                        spaghetti
              noodles                                                 pasta sauce                                              cereal
              Granola/cereal bars                 
              Canned vegetables and fruits generally 14-15 oz, available in various multi packs, of 4, 6, 8 or 12 per:
                           carrots, mixed veg, peas, corn, peach slices ( 29 oz), green beans, baked beans,              

The schools' families also need  good used clothes, children and adult, household/kitchen items and childrens books.