London City Schools welcomed community supporters to London Elementary School Tuesday for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting of the Raider Rack. Parents, school members, London mayor Pat Closser and Madison Health CEO Dana Engle were among those in attendance.
Located on the second floor of the elementary school, the Raider Rack is a clothing store stocked with free clothes for students of the district.
All the clothes in the store are new and have been donated by members of the community. The clothes are for students from preschool through 12th grade and include shoes, pants, shirts, sweatshirts, athletic shirts for either Red Raiders or Ohio State Buckeyes and outerwear such as gloves, hats and mittens.
“We have a lot of kids come to school not always ready to learn,” said Stefanie Deisher, Assistant Principal at LES. “There are things on their mind other than learning. Having some of their basic needs met, like providing clothing, they may be more willing to learn.”
The project was created by Melissa Canney, the Student Support Specialist for London City Schools.
“In the role of the Student Support Specialist, I’m looking at what are the students’ needs,” Canney said. “And if they have non-academic barriers to learning.” For her, it’s a matter of assessing all possible resources the school can provide.
“We have good facilities and great teachers. We have received great technologies and have other support services,” she added. “I look at ‘are we having all mental health and hunger issues taken care of?’ And another area was basic needs of shoes and clothing.”
The store is designed to resemble actual clothing stores, complete with shirts on racks and display tables. All of the clothing has been brought in by various members of the community and donated to the Raider Rack for the sole purpose of providing for the kids.
“Teachers have been supporting their students forever, using their own money for supplies. This is just formalizing that in a way,” said Canney. “And the community has been very generous and willing to help out.” The students themselves have even been a part of the creation by designing the logo for the store. But Canney said that this is something the community has really worked on to offer the kids.
“There are no strings attached,” she said. “It’s just a gift.”
The Raider Rack is currently open and accepting donations of new clothes or funds that will be used to purchase new items to stock the store. Checks can be made to London City Schools or items can be dropped off or shipped to the Board of Education Office at 380 Elm Street.
For more information, call Canney at 740-852-5700, ext. 2109.
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.