Bountiful Elementary’s ‘Rack’ helping those in needMar 02, 2021 11:23AM ● By April Shumway
At the first of the year like in many other schools, a needs assessment was sent out to all parents of Bountiful Elementary. Although it is not a Title One school (30% on free or reduced lunches as well as additional funds for programs), with the closing of Washington Elementary last year, they inherited part of their student body. With that came students and families with greater needs than what they had experienced in the past.
From this need the “Bountiful Rack” was born. It’s the brainchild of school counselor Kari Harrison, a recipient of a “Best in Davis” award last spring. Laura Jenkins, Bountiful Elementary’ s Intervention Coach, also contributed to the success of this incredible solution to help students, families and the community.
A few requests were put out for donations. At first organizers didn’t expect much, and then it seemed the donations came pouring in. Jenkins belongs to a national women’s sorority and put out the word to her fellow sisters. Kari and Laura were amazed at how many items were donated. At times their supply has been so great that they have invited other schools in the district to come take advantage of their surplus!
The items were first housed in a room used to store extra desks and chairs removed to accommodate social distancing. It began with children’s clothing on two tables. It didn’t take long for them to realize that wasn’t going to be nearly enough room.
Amazingly enough, it was around that time they heard about an online clothing store in Centerville going out of business. They were planning on discarding their clothing racks but were more than happy to donate them to this worthwhile cause. The donations and the needs were both great and soon they were able to designate a room in the basement of their school that became the “Bountiful Rack.” It is open for any family to make an appointment to come shop for free.
Laura said “To be able to give a coat to a child and to see them put it on and snuggle into it is the best feeling.”
It looks no different that walking into a secondhand store—the only difference is that everything is free. It is clean and organized. Clothing is all hung on racks and sized. Not only are they meeting the needs of the students, they have adult clothing too as well as suits for men. Many items are brand new and have tags on them.
There is much more than just clothing, they will accept donations of any gently used or new household items that could be of use to another family.
Teachers, parents and volunteers keep the store organized and sort through the constant supply of donations coming in. According to Principal Kristen McDonough, it has been a huge undertaking that involved many people.
“I’m so happy we can meet the needs of so many of our families,” she said.