HENDERSON — Students and teachers in the Vance County Schools received some COVID-19 virus protection and nutritional supplements this week in a display of community support for the schools.
The occasion provided some needed supplies. But it was more. It was a demonstration of support for the students and appreciation of the teachers.
Gang Free Inc. celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week by presenting gift bags to students and teachers in each of the school district’s 10 elementary schools. Each bag contained a pack of 50 face masks, juice, a hand sanitizer, gift card, wipes, a thermometer and a nutritional snack.
A bit of promotional material was also enclosed. A flyer provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control urges the students, “Handwashing is your superpower! Fight off germs! Wash your hands!” while a masked, caped “superhero” fends off a COVID virus with a bar of soap.
The gifts were made possible by a $20,000 grant the Triangle North Healthcare Foundation awarded to Gang Free for the project. MR Williams Inc. donated hand sanitizers valued collectively at $6,000.
Gang Free founder Melissa Elliott said the organization distributed 1,901 bags to students and 2,000 to teachers.
Curamericas Global donated the bags for teachers.
“When I told them about the project, they said, ‘What about the teachers?’ ” Elliott explained.
Curamericas Global is an international organization with offices in Raleigh. It promotes partnerships with other organizations to improve access to health services for mothers and children around the world.
Elliott said she hopes to receive support to take the project to the middle school.
“We want everyone to be as safe as possible,” she said.
Gang Free Inc. is a non-profit organization that uses a focus on at-risk youth to address a spectrum of community issues.
Triangle North Healthcare Foundation is a non-profit regional organization that invests in health and wellness initiatives in Vance, Warren, Franklin and Granville counties.