By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore has its share of people struggling to get by, those who have a hard time keeping clean clothes on their children’s back and supplying their children with personal hygiene items.
If those children attend Escambia County Middle School, they can find a helping hand in the school’s clothes closet, where everything from extra uniforms and shoes to toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and a place to use the soap are readily available.
“Our clothes closet has items for students who might not have access to them at home,” ECMS Assistant Principal Toya McMillian said after an October 21 donation by Atmore Lions Club members. “Our counselors keep towels and wash cloths in their offices, but in here (the closet) we have jackets, pants, uniforms, even disposable underwear for students who might have an accident at school. We have paper, pencils, notebooks and all kind of hygiene products. We even have shoes for those who might need shoes.”
Lion Club President Bub Gideons said the donation – five laundry baskets full of hygienic supplies – represented a club outreach project.
“Any way that Lions can help the community, we try to chip in where there’s a need,” Gideons said.
Brandy Giger, a past president of ALC, said the laundry baskets the club donated are well-stocked, including “about 250” tubes of toothpaste, “about 300” toothbrushes, “about 250” bars of soap and numerous bags that each include 100 Tide Pods for washing clothes.
Guidance Counselor Cordia Lee pointed out that students in need of a shower have a special place, near the band room, to take one. She said the clothes closet has helped many students overcome seemingly simple obstacles to their education.
“If a student doesn’t look good and smell good, you’re not going get them to learn,” she explained.
Lion Candace Wooten indicated to Principal Debbie Bolden and the four ECMS professional staff members who administer the clothes closet — Jawuan Osborne, Cordia Lee, Lotoya Cooper West and Toya McMillian — that the October 21 donation might not be the only one forthcoming.
“Mrs. (Assistant Superintendent of Education Beth) Drew told us about what y’all do here,” Wooten said. “That’s what prompted this; we like to help people in our community. If you ever need something, don’t hesitate to call us. If we can’t do it, we’ll figure it out.”