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Franklin Forest students donate more than 1,800 items to warming center

Each grade level at Franklin Forrest Elementary School was challenged to bring in 100 items for the warming center for its inaugural “100 Items for 100 Days of School.” When it came to donation day, grades Pre-K through fifth had collected more than 1,800 items for the warming center.  

“It was by far the best donation participation we’ve ever had,” said FFE school counselor Lindsay Morris. “I think it was because it was directly tied to the community and because it started good conversations of homelessness and helping others. I knew I wanted to have something that we could collect that went directly to the community. I thought it would be a fun way to incorporate the 100th day of school, and I challenged each grade level to collect 100 specific items.” 

Pre-K and kindergarten students brought socks, first grade brought chocolate candies, second grade brought sodas, third grade brought snacks, fourth grade brought individual meals and fifth grade brought blankets. 

“This makes a great impact on the warming center because not only are we distributing these items to warming center guests, we are also taking these items to homeless individuals who are not staying at the warming center for various reasons,” said New Ventures Marketing Director Anabeth Ivey. “We’ve been trying to increase our reach by visiting ‘tent cities’ and communities of homeless persons that need these resources as well, so donations like this really help us with that.” 

Morris said the students were able to make a real impact through the donations.

“It really sparked some good conversations about our community and helping others in need,” Morris said. “One student was able to connect homelessness on a more global perspective with the homeless population in Atlanta.” 

The warming center opened its doors again in late November and has seen an average of 10 to 15 occupants each night it is open. 

“I think something that is important for me to convey as a school counselor is that our students and really all kids can be catalysts for good,” Morris said. “If we can provide opportunities for teaching positivity and outlets to do good, it helps to show them that they can make a positive difference. I especially think that getting young students involved in being catalysts for good establishes empathy at an early age—which is really the foundation of helping others.”

Ivey said they were shocked to receive so much from such a young age group. 

“We are grateful for the generosity of the elementary school students and their families at FFE,” Ivey said. “When we went to pick up the donations, you could tell how excited the students were and how proud they were to be a part of something that was making a great impact in our community. The fact that a local elementary school is thinking outside the box and educating their students on important things happening outside the classroom is so encouraging.”