Free school pantry provides in-need Holland families with winter clothes, more

Michigan, Netherlands – A Dutch school-based pantry provides families in need with free winter clothes, school supplies, personal hygiene products and more, thanks to donations from the community.

The Power H Shop at Longfellow Primary School, a public school in the Netherlands, opens once a month for students and families facing crisis or financial hardship, offering free purchases of essential items for everyday life. can.

The store is a collaboration between Dutch Public Schools, the Ottawa Community School Network (OCSN) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Pathways to Potential Program, according to a statement from the Ottawa District Secondary School District.

Serving 21 schools across seven districts in Ottawa County, OCSN uses a “community school” model to turn school buildings into local hubs, allowing families to connect to resources and support services from across the community. A wraparound service network that

Lauren Gray, OCSN coordinator at Dutch High School, says Power H Shop helps students reach their full potential in the classroom by providing essentials that families may not be able to afford. We help you to focus on

“Being able to support HPS families with free household items in a dignified retail environment helps offset monthly expenses, reduces the financial stress many families face, and helps students succeed in school environments. It creates better opportunities to do,” Gray said. in a statement.

According to the news release, all products in the shop have been donated by individual donors, local businesses and community organizations. Shops are stocked with school supplies, backpacks, cleaning supplies, seasonal clothing such as winter coats and boots, and personal hygiene products.

The store is open to families of Dutch public school students, district officials told MLive/The Grand Rapids Press. The shop first launched in October 2022 and is open once a month.

Superintendent Nick Cassidy of the Netherlands said the resource would be of great benefit to many families in his district.

“It is unrealistic to believe that students will reach their full potential when families are struggling to provide shoes, clothing, school supplies, or other household items,” Cassidy said in a statement to MLive. “That’s why the Power H Shop is such a great asset for families who attend HPS.”

The store also demonstrates the power of partnerships between the community and local schools, the superintendent said.

“This is one of the great examples of what can happen across cities when everyone comes together to invest in public schools,” Cassidy said.

Mallory Timmer, OCSN coordinator at Holland West Elementary School, said a free pantry wouldn’t be possible without the support of community partners.

“It’s great to see that not only our group is aware of what our community needs, but that our community itself wants to step up and help. It’s very encouraging for our team,” said Timmer.

Last month, one community partner donated dozens of Christmas trees and decorations to shops to spread the holiday cheer to families in need.

Sue Woodward, founder of “David’s Sparks of Joy,” heard about Power H Shop and was inspired by what they do, according to a news release. “David’s Sparks of Joy” is named after his late son who loved Christmas.

Woodward donated artificial Christmas trees, ornaments, toppers, stockings, tree skirts and lights to the shop. Thanks to Woodward’s donation, his 32 families left his Power H shop in December with a free Christmas tree and decorations to brighten up their homes during the Christmas holidays.

“I am so impressed with how HPS is supporting their families. I knew this was where I wanted to give away my tree,” Woodward said in a prepared statement. .

Gray said the donation helped show how the Power H shop can be a “huge blessing” for his family.

“One family told me they were so excited to finally have a Christmas tree,” said Gray.

Future Power H shop opening days and hours will be updated on the district website. You can donate to Power H Shop from your organization’s Amazon Wishlist.

Open January 12th and February 2nd from 4:30pm to 6:00pm.

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