- Sponsorship -

Dozens of Staff Chip in Each Paycheck to Help Families

When Troy Wright’s glasses broke while he was rough-housing with his friends, his mother, Cindy Wollner, didn’t know what to do. She had already exhausted the family’s eye insurance coverage, and new glasses were going to cost $300.

“My first thought was, ‘I can’t afford this right before Christmas and Thanksgiving,'” Wollner said.

After noticing he was going without, Kelloggsville Public Schools teachers notified Wollner of a fund they regularly contribute to that helps district families meet their basic needs. Thanks to staff members, Troy, a seventh-grader at Kelloggsville Middle School, is now sporting brand-new glasses.

Alexandro Ochoa, a preschooler at Kelloggsville Early Childhood Center, all bundled up in his new winter clothes
Alexandro Ochoa, a preschooler at Kelloggsville Early Childhood Center, all bundled up in his new winter clothes

“I literally almost cried,” Wollner said. “I am so grateful for this right now. I didn’t have the money for new glasses.”

“It made me happy,” Troy said, while wearing his black frames.

For winter coats, hats and gloves, glasses, even rent or heat bills for district families, staff members have been pooling their money to help for more than a decade .

Under the umbrella “Kelloggsville Community Cares,” 35 staff members have money taken directly from their paychecks to fund the Warm A Heart and $ense for Kids programs, said Lori Martin, accounts payable and purchasing representative. Many more give one-time donations. There is a lot of need in the district, they say, where about 80 percent of students are economically disadvantaged.

The $ense for Kids fund covers boots, glasses and other clothing items, and Warm A Heart funds new coats, hats, snow pants and gloves. There is also a fund for emergency needs such as rent or heat. Last year, $2,300 was donated to Warm A Heart, $1,900 to $ense for Kids and $350 toward the emergency fund. Donations of knitted items also come from local churches.

Longtime Kelloggsville secretary Gerry Gromko, who died in 2012, helped start the program in Kelloggsville, modeled after a program in Kentwood.

Ready to Play in the Snow

Amanda Ochoa was extremely grateful that her son Alexandro, a preschooler at Kelloggsville Early Childhood Center, received a warm coat, snow pants, boots and gloves through the funds.

“It helped tremendously,” said Ochoa, who has two other children in first and third grades. “I was not able to get him the proper winter gear so he can play out in the snow.”

She said it means a lot that teachers donate to the programs to help students.

“It’s a big relief because now I know he will stay warm and healthy. It boosted his confidence when he received the clothes. He smiled so wide.”

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Good behavior encouraged at home

For students learning from home, positive behavior rewards are still possible...

Discovering bugs by tying flies

Northview’s coordinator of outdoor experiences, a fly-fishing aficionado, used the sport to teach elementary students about macroinvertebrates and making their own flies...

Pen pals build bonds during remote learning

How does a teacher create get-to-know-you opportunities for her new class of third-grade distance learners?

Have books, will deliver

To make sure virtual students still have access to books, this middle school media clerk built her own online platform for the library, created a contactless book pick-up at the school and is delivering books to students at their homes...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Pieces of past Rocket pride remain part of the present

The history of the district is preserved in a six-panel history wall at the high school...

Have cart, will travel

A Southeast Kelloggsville Elementary music teacher has a new cart for her ukuleles, thanks to her school, her husband and the Kent Career Tech Center...

Schools in nine districts announce closures as COVID cases spike

New temporary school building closures were announced by nine school districts in Kent ISD this week, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU