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Dr. Higgins: OneMa1ze Support Network extends beyond single season to meet student needs that otherwise may go unnoticed

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Maize USD 266 Often during the month of December, I share with you stories about how our students and community have rallied together in acts of care and kindness.

They are at it again this month, ringing kettle bells for the Salvation Army, collecting food and mittens for those in need, and purchasing gifts for others. I am proud and inspired by their character and thoughtfulness, and I thank the parents and volunteers behind them. Maize Transportation Department employees have been working with the Caring Hearts organization to collect clothing and toy donations for Maize families in need.

Today, I would like to tell you about a special year-round initiative that helps address needs of our students and their families that I fear otherwise may slip through the cracks. Our OneMa1ze Support Network is an informal group of caring individuals who have expressed interest in helping our students anonymously and quickly in some of the most unexpected ways.

Maize USD 266 certainly is a fortunate and blessed district. However, there still exists obvious needs. Nearly one out of four Maize USD 266 students qualifies for free or reduced school breakfast and lunch, indicating that their families meet federal guidelines that place them at or below the poverty level. Sadly, it perhaps is not surprising when our educators or staff members hear about a student who sleeps on the floor, cannot wash their own clothes, or has a baby sibling at home without a car seat.

At times like these, we are able to call on those in our OneMa1ze Support Network. By activating these generous individuals and families, we have been able to acquire a bed, blankets, pillows, car seat, or other resources to meet critical needs for our students and their families. We know our students can learn better when their basic needs are met and they can focus on their education. We know our educators and employees often reach into their own pockets to provide basic necessities for students. It is part of their giving nature. However, it is important for them to know they do not have to do this alone.

Other efforts are in place throughout the district, as well, including Maslow's Pantry, a Maize High School students-helping-students program that provides food, hygiene items, and clothes to students, their families, and others in our community. The pantry is in the building in front of Maize High School and depends on donations. Students visit to privately select items they need. Please see below for a list of requested donations.

If you are interested in playing a role in our special OneMa1ze Support Network, please e-mail me at chiggins@usd266.com. Thank you to those who have been involved already, and thanks to everyone who makes this community a place that rises up to the task when they hear about our community members in need. I look forward to OneMa1ze connecting even more in 2020. Best wishes to each of you as you wrap up 2019.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
chiggins@usd266.com

 

Maslow's Pantry logo Maslow's Pantry requested donations

Maslow's Pantry is requesting the following donations to support students and their families. Please deliver donations to the front office at Maize High, 11600 W. 45th St. North in Maize. Thank you!

  • Shelf-stable foods: cereal, pasta, spaghetti sauce, noodles, macaroni and cheese, granola bars, toaster pastries, fruit juice, and water
  • Personal hygiene items: shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, deodorant (no toothpaste or toothbrushes, please)
  • Paper products: toilet paper, paper towels, napkins
  • Clothing: hats, gloves, new socks, gently-used coats and jackets in any size for children and adults