What a call to get! "Something awesome is happening at Edgewood Elementary tomorrow, can you be there?" The call came from the United Way of the Lakeshore and Dominique Bunker was on the other end of the line, and when that call comes in, arrangements get made to be there, because it's no April Fools joke. Upon our arrival at the school bright and early the sights and sounds of the kids, faculty and guests echoed the excitement because a gift had been given to all of the students there!
Like any school where teachers are out buying supplies for their own classroom and budgets keep getting tighter, the struggle is real at Edgewood. Kids need the essentials for an education. Paper, pencils, crayons etc...something to carry them all in gotta have them. For some though those basics have to come after things like food, shelter and clothes and when things get tight, well...it comes back to the school and teachers to fill the gap. It's a somewhat vicious cycle and it's not just a problem at Edgewood. It's in all schools everywhere and with so many in need and our area agencies doing all they can from providing take home meals for kids like Kids Food Basket does to others helping with books...like the United Way is the Lakeshore does with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library...most get by, but there is still a need and when someone steps up to fill it, well...they should get a little light shone on them.
Nowak Machined Products of Norton Shores ran the numbers and the average family spends $638 on back to school supplies for kids. That's an awful lot of money when it comes down to groceries or notebooks. It's their solid belief that the young people of Muskegon are truly the future of this community and as a company, they decided that it would be their give back to those young people and this community to help with that cost. Students in the elementary schools at Muskegon Heights Academy were given brand new, logo'd back packs emblazoned with "Tiger Pride" and the famous Muskegon Heights logo. It was filled with everything their young minds, and hands need to help them learn and achieve and along with it, came a thought that someone cared and that they were worth something brand new and all theirs. 37 years in business in the area, Nowak has seen all the up's and down's we've had and their belief is still in making sure that our future is ours and their gift today is a gesture to about 450 young people and families that while there are neighborhood and municipality lines, we truly are one community and it's on all of us to watch out for the kids no matter the neighborhood they are in.
I sat down with Ken Nowak, President of Nowak Machined Products to learn a little more about their company and purpose for the giveback today as well as Dominique Bunker from the United Way of the Lakeshore to celebrate this great day, take a listen.
Pretty great start to the day for everyone! Our communities all do better when we fill a gap where ever it needs to be filled. A little generosity goes a long way when it comes to what kids will remember from the start of their day today. They got to assemble as a school to start the day. They got to spend a little time "outside the classroom" to learn a lesson equal to or more important than what 2+2 is. The lesson in giving something back builds community and fosters a future. Who knows, maybe someday down the line one of the kids here will be right back at a school somewhere where life takes them and they too will set the example Nowak Machined Products did today...and that is what building community and society is all about. We were honored to be asked to come help cover the story. Thanks to the United Way for the tip. To learn more about the United Way of the Lakeshore, visit their website by clicking below.